Case for Red Sox re-signing starter
Nathan Eovaldi joined the exclusive company this season when he became the 12th pitcher in Red Sox history to make three straight starts on Opening Day.
That streak could end in 2023, however, as Eovaldi is set to become a free agent as Boston enters a crucial Major League Baseball offseason in which he must answer several questions related to his rotation of departure.
The Red Sox acquired Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays for Jalen Beeks in 2018, and the right-hander wasted no time in endearing himself to the fan base and the organization by playing a vital role in the running of the Boston World Series. As such, he was rewarded that winter with a four-year, $68 million contract it at one point looked awful – as Eovaldi struggled with injury and inefficiency – but ultimately proved a solid investment.
There are several top starters who could pique Boston’s interest in free agency this offseason, including Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom, Clayton Kershaw and Carlos Rodón, among others. But Eovaldi is firmly rooted in the second level of weapons available, likely to generate a lot of interest in the open market – possibly even from the Red Sox. It wouldn’t be surprising if Boston offered Eovaldi a qualifying offer of $19.65 million over one year and go from there.
Let’s examine the arguments for (and against) the Red Sox re-signing Eovaldi.
20 starts (109 1/3 innings)
6-3, 3.87 MPM
103 strikeouts, 20 walks
4.30 FIP, 1.24 WHIP
The arguments in favor of re-signing Eovaldi
Stability. Continuity. Familiarity. Whatever you want to call it. The Red Sox really only have three pitchers listed in their 2023 rotation: Chris Sale, Nick Pivetta and Brayan Bello. Four if you count Garrett Whitlock, whose the role remains unclear but should be given another opportunity to begin. And even that group is littered with question marks, given Sale’s injury struggles over the past three years and Bello’s youth. Pivetta is probably the most bankable asset, with the ceiling of a mid-spin starter but more likely a main arm. Michael Wacha and Rich Hill, like Eovaldi, are free agents.