According to multiple reports, the Boston Red Sox are bringing back World Series hero, Nathan Eovaldi, for the 2019 season and beyond. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report that the Red Sox and the free agent right-hander had agreed to a new deal.
Details about the contract were later revealed by Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
Eovaldi had been a hot commodity on the free agent market this winter, mostly due to his breakout performance with the Red Sox during the postseason. He was instrumental in helping Boston capture the World Series title, being utilized in both the starting rotation and out of the bullpen by his manager, Alex Cora.
The Red Sox originally acquired Eovaldi on July 25 of this past season in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect, Jalen Beeks. Initially, there was some trepidation amongst Red Sox faithful in acquiring Eovaldi, who had been struggling at the time in Tampa, in exchange for Boston’s #15 prospect. However, all doubts were summarily dispelled by Eovaldi’s brilliance in the playoffs and, as a result, he has earned himself a robust four-year deal with the Red Sox.A hero in the Boston's World Series title run, Nathan Eovaldi is returning to the @RedSox on a four-year contract.Click To Tweet
Eovaldi will now join a Red Sox rotation that consists of Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez, which gives the team a formidable starting five heading into the 2019 season. He also provides the Red Sox with flexibility given his ability, as well as willingness, to pitch out of the bullpen should he be needed there. Eovaldi showed no hesitation in being used as an everyday reliever during the playoffs, so the Red Sox know that, should the moment arise, Eovaldi can be used as an effective, late-inning reliever.
Additionally, the Red Sox succeeded in keeping Eovaldi away from their American League rivals, the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros, both of whom were rumored to be pursuing the free agent right-hander. A pitcher like Eovaldi, who is particularly effective against right-handed hitters, will greatly serve the Red Sox as they attempt to quell the powerful right-handed batters of their league rivals, such as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Bregman, and Jose Altuve.
As much as the Red Sox are happy to have Eovaldi back in the fold for the next several years, there are still some questions that remain. For example, how will his arm hold up and will he stay healthy for the duration of his contract? Eovaldi has had multiple procedures done on his right elbow, and the fact that he regularly throws in the high-90s velocity-wise draws even more concern to the long-term health of that elbow. His former doctor and current team doctor for the New York Yankees, Dr. Christopher Ahmad, gave his assessment of Eovaldi’s health just a few weeks ago when he spoke with NBC Sports Boston.
“To me, he’s over Tommy John surgery and he’s over revision Tommy John surgery,” Dr. Christopher Ahmad, the Yankees’ team physician who operated on Eovaldi’s elbow and forearm in 2016, told NBC Sports Boston. “And I would consider him in the same category of somebody who has a healthy arm, and whatever worry I have about that player, I have the same or less for Nate.”
“His elbow, from his description, he had no symptoms whatsoever throughout 2018 once the season started,” Ahmad said. “His elbow felt great. Obviously, his velocity was there, so his performance and his ability to get guys out and his number of innings pitched was amazing. But from his description, he had no complaints at all. He felt great.
“When I examined him, his motion was perfect. He had no features on examination that he had a compromise to his elbow. Nothing tender, nothing painful to stress. And we also performed an MRI scan to take pictures of his reconstructed ligament. His reconstructed ligament, even being a two-time reconstructed ligament, looked as perfectly healthy as could be. There was no signal changes in it. His bones around the ligament didn’t have any signal changes.
Of course, the Red Sox, nor any other team for that matter, can take this as gospel truth since injuries can still occur and reemerge at any time. However, it certainly aided the Red Sox in their decision to bring back the 29-year-old for an extended period of time.
The $17 million per year price tag may seem a touch high to some fans, but the consensus opinion remains that the Red Sox would rather keep him at a higher price than see him go to an American League rival. Having Eovaldi back in a Red Sox uniform for the 2019 season immediately gives them an x-factor on their pitching staff. Should he stay healthy and pitch consistently he can be the perfect piece to round out an already potent starting rotation for Boston.