Nathan Eovaldi was arguably Boston’s best pitcher in the 2018 postseason. That should make him the Red Sox’s top priority in the 2019 free agent market.
Nathan Eovaldi started the postseason by shutting down the New York Yankees, allowing just one run over 7 innings as the Boston Red Sox closed out the Division Series in Game 4. He turned in an equally dominant performance in Game 3 of the ALCS, allowing two runs over six innings.
Then came the heroic stints out of the bullpen. Eovaldi did not allow any runs in Game 5 of the ALCS, or Games 1 and 2 of the World Series.
Finally, after being slated to start Game 4, he was thrust into the 12th inning of Game 3. The righty turned in an epic six-inning relief gem, reaching 100-mph late in the outing and allowing just one earned run in a losing effort.
Although it is a short sample size, Eovaldi was arguably Boston’s best pitcher in the 2018 postseason. That performance, coupled with his dominance down the stretch, boasting a 1.35 ERA in September, should make him the Red Sox’s top priority in the 2019 free agent market. His 16 scoreless innings against the Yankees in the regular season only add to an impressive resume.
The Red Sox made short work of the Yankees, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs, but the rosters on these teams are not far apart. Both the Yankees and Dodgers will be in the mix for Bryce Harper. Manny Machado and Charlie Blackmon are also available in a stacked free agent class that could change the landscape of baseball.
More from Red Sox News
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Why Red Sox fans should be rooting for Carlos Correa’s Mets deal to go through
Unlike other teams, the Red Sox should not need to worry about hitting as much as pitching. Boston had the highest average (.268) and scored the most runs (876) in 2018. However, they were seventh in ERA (3.75) and sixth in runs allowed (647).
At just 28 and coming off of one of the best stretches of his career, Eovaldi is likely to demand money in the $10-15 million dollar range. The Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals have already stepped up as top suitors as they look for a front of the rotation starter.
The Red Sox have options in knuckleballer Steven Wright, long men Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez and prospect Jay Groome. However, they should be looking to sign a free agent starting pitcher. Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton and J.A. Happ will also be on the market, but they are 30, 34, and 36 years old, respectively.
Eovaldi’s unique combination of velocity, youth, confidence, and dominance make him one of the most prized gems on the 2019 free agent market. It is imperative that the Red Sox keep him in the rotation as they defend the 2018 World Series championship.