Red Sox 2019 Report Cards: Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 27: Starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 27, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 27: Starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 27, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Evaluating the 2019 season of Boston Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and assigning a grade based on how his production lived up to expectations.

There isn’t much to recap as far as 2019 is concerned for Nathan Eovaldi and the Red Sox. He spent the majority of the season on the IL due to an elbow procedure to remove loose bone fragments. Despite the prognosis for his recovery being six to eight weeks, it would be being far longer until Nathan would return to the lineup.

To get the full scope of Eovaldi’s 2019 we have to go all the way back to the opening of free agency this past winter. It didn’t take much time at all for the Red Sox to re-sign Nasty Nate who had entered the free agent pool after the 2018 campaign. The big talking point was not that Boston brought him back into the fold but more so the size of the contract.

Dave Dombrowski offered Eovaldi a 4-year/$68M contract that would see the righty remain in Boston until 2023. The mindset of the deal from the outside looking in seemed to be a way to lock up a fifth starter and someone who was integral in Boston’s latest World Series victory.

For much of his career, Eovaldi was a guy that never lived up to the expectations of his potential. He also had a tag of being injury-prone having undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries and a maintenance procedure prior to arriving in Boston last summer.

He found a home at Fenway Park and really rose to the occasion when the lights were their brightest. I understand the reasoning behind the contract but the terms are just ludicrous.

Fast-forward to this season and it didn’t take very long for Eovaldi to find his spot on the IL. He would be on the sidelines for 92 days from April to July and earned just over $8.4M while doing so. Dombrowski handed out three massive contracts this winter between Nate and contract extensions for Xander Bogaerts and Chris Sale. Only Bogaerts has earned what he was given this offseason.

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As I said before there isn’t really much to recap for Eovaldi this season since three months of it were spent on the sideline. He would make his comeback towards the end of the season where the Red Sox would try him as a starter as well as a reliever/closer. He wouldn’t be able to recapture the fire he had in 2018 and would end the season with a 2-1 record and a 5.99 ERA in 67.2 IP.


Pitcher. . Nathan Eovaldi. F.

As much as it sucks to deal out a failing grade to Nate I can’t, in all honesty, give any higher of a mark for his season. He spent half the year on the IL and when he was able to pitch he wasn’t effective. I know it’s harsh, but so was the 2019 season.

I was thrilled at first when the Red Sox announced that Eovaldi had been re-signed but things quickly went sour as the calendar flipped to 2019. Hopefully, he can get his elbow back to full strength and bring back the fire that Red Sox Nation fell in love with during the postseason last year.

Even with the time, he logged on the IL if he was able to perform at a certain level when he returned his grade could’ve improved. It was a nightmare year for Nasty Nate and he didn’t live up to the hype of the contract that Dombrowski handed him in December.

Future Outlook

I’m not sure where the Red Sox go with Eovaldi going forward, to be honest with you. For the amount of money, he’s earning it makes the most sense to put him in the rotation. It’s all going to depend on the strength of his elbow. If he can only go three to four innings an outing then he isn’t worth his salary.

Boston is already down a starter as Rick Porcello is going to be a free agent in a few short weeks and it’s unlikely that they bring him back. So Eovaldi will need to be in the starting rotation and he’s going to need to go deep into games.

With a tight budget ahead of them it doesn’t feel like the Red Sox are going to spend on another starter. They also can’t afford to run two bullpen games a week and contend for October if Nate can’t go into the late innings. It definitely doesn’t make sense to have a guy in the bullpen that’s making $17M/year, so my money is on him being the fourth starter in the rotation.

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This was a failure of a season for Nathan Eovaldi, simple as that. I know he can’t control what his body does and had zero say in his elbow needing surgery. But it feels like a direct correlation that he threw his arm off last October and needed work done damn near instantly in 2019. If he can get himself healthy and maintain it through the season then he should see his grade drastically improve in 2020.