Varland struggled in the bullpen with Milwaukee, had an 11.42 ERA in eight appearances, with six strikeouts, eight walks, and three home runs allowed in 8⅔ innings. His FIP was 5.91 after seven games with as many walks as strikeouts, but allowing nine runs while recording only two outs on May 15 in St. Louis was the final straw. The Brewers designated the 26-year-old right-hander for assignment last Tuesday.
The Dodgers originally acquired Varland from the A’s along with infielder Sheldon Neuse in February 2021 for pitcher Adam Kolarek and outfielder Cody Thomas. In two years with Double-A Tulsa, Varland had a 5.98 ERA with 107 strikeouts and 55 walks in 105⅓ innings.
Varland’s numbers improved when he switched to full-time relief in 2022, with a 4.67 ERA in 34 games, with a 31-percent strikeout rate in 44⅓ innings.
Varland was one of three players taken from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 Draft in December. First baseman Ryan Noda is hitting .221/.399/.425 with four home runs, nine doubles, and a 140 wRC+ with the A’s, the left-hander José Hernández has a 3.00 ERA and 3.01 FIP in 17 games for the Pirates, with 20 strikeouts and three walks.
The fee paid by the Brewers for drafting Varland from the Dodgers was $100,000. The Dodgers have to pay $50,000 to take him back. With Varland back with the Dodgers, he’s not on the 40-man roster.