I’m completely aware he could end up becoming the MLB equivalent to Brock Osweiler, but I do not care.
Eovaldi has been a journeyman starter since debuting in the MLB in 2011, never having been on one team for more than 3 seasons.
In 2016, Eovaldi needed Tommy John surgery, his second time undergoing the operation. He returned in 2018 with Tampa Bay, where he was 3-4 with a 4.26 ERA.
However, Dave Dombrowski and the Boston Red Sox saw something in Eovaldi, and traded for him during the summer for a crappy pitcher named Jalen Beeks (i.e. a bag of baseballs). Eovaldi was wonderful in his first two starts, but really shined in October.
He started for Boston in Game 3 of the ALDS, and became the first Red Sox pitcher not named Jon Lester to throw 7 innings in a postseason start since Dice-K did 10 years prior (he won too).
He followed up this performance in Game 3 of the ALCS, throwing 6 innings and holding the Astros to 2 runs, as the Red Sox won 8-2 to take a 2-1 series lead. He appeared one more time in the series, coming in relief during Game 5, pitching 1.1 innings prior to Craig Kimbrel closing the game; all this led to a World Series appearance.
Eovaldi came in relief yet again in Game 2 of the World Series, but what will go down in Boston sports history is his performance in Game 3. Eovaldi entered a tied game in the 12th inning, and was given a long leash. Boston had used all its other pitchers except for Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz, and allowing those guys to pitch in this game would have severely effected Boston’s rotation the rest of the series.
Eovaldi did not budge, and quite frankly, had his most productive appearance all postseason. Pitching in innings 12-18, Eovaldi finished the game with a statline of 6 innings, 3 hits, 5 strikeouts and one walk, all on 97 pitches. He let up an unearned run in the 13th due to Ian Kinsler being stupid, but unfortunately lost the game by letting up a walk off homerun to Max Muncy in the 18th inning.
Even though he lost the game, everyone quickly acknowledged the wild circumstances Eovaldi entered the game in, and he was quickly given a hero’s reception by his teammates.
All of this led to Eovaldi’s payday today.
Too Much Too Soon?
We can argue Eovalid is cashing-in due to recency bias, and he might be getting overpaid for 3 months of work in spite of his injury history, but lets look at the team paying him.
Boston has David Price under contract through 2022 at $31 million next season, and $32 million/season in 2020-2022. Chris Sale is a free agent after next season, as is Rick Porcello. With Eovaldi now signed, Boston has him, Price, and E-Rod under contract after 2019.
Boston’s farm system is weak, and no reinforcements are on the horizon (unless you think Jay Groome is up to it). Eovaldi was a better option at his price point than the alternative.
Once Sale and Procello become free agents, decisions will have to be made. Can you afford to pay Price and Sale $30 million each, with roster decisions such as Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and JD Martinez on the horizon?
Unless the current ownership group wants to pay out of its ears to win, then no, you probably can’t; Sale or Price has to go after 2019.
Signing Eovaldi is Boston going all-in on 2019, but also building a plan for 2020 and beyond. If Eovaldi can stay healthy and give you decent innings, he’ll be a number 3 starter for a team that will need pitching depth at that point. He prevents a talent deficit if Sale/Price and Porcello were to be gone after 2019, and allows you to stay competitive.
A lot hinges on his health, but Boston doesn’t have another choice in my eyes. That’s the price you pay (no pun intended) when Dave Dombrowski is your GM.
I’m on the recency bias side, but I hear the counter argument loud and clear.
As you see Boston’s books quickly loading up, don’t forget this:
Sorry, even now I’m still hurt at how it ended with Lester, but a bit less after this season.
All kidding aside, congrats Nathan, you earned this.
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