The Boston Red Sox could have made this offseason a lot easier by simply letting Nathan Eovaldi go after the 2018 season. Now, they are in a tough spot.
The Boston Red Sox were riding a high after a 2018 season that included 108 regular-season wins and a dominant postseason run that resulted in the team’s fourth World Series championship since the turn of the century. Unfortunately, that high lead to a very bad decision when they decided to keep starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi around with a four-year, $68 million dollar contract.
This can be argued as the most irresponsible thing that former president fo baseball operations Dave Dombrowski did during his tenure in Boston.
Before this starts to look like an Eovaldi hate piece, I’ll give you a disclaimer. I like the guy and I was one of the many who wanted him to be brought back for 2019. However, anyone who paid attention knew that giving him that amount of money long-term was a massive overpay.
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Eovaldi was phenomenal in the 2018 playoffs and is rightfully considered a big part of that championship, but you don’t give someone that type of money based off of six playoff appearances. Eovaldi had a much larger sample size that provided some red flags.
Eovaldi has been pitching in the majors since 2011. In that time, he has had just three seasons where his ERA was below 4.00 and only two seasons where he managed to pitch over 150 innings. In other words, he has a history of being unreliable and streaky.
In 2019, Eovaldi proved that history does tend to repeat itself, as he was injured for a good amount of the season and pitched poorly when healthy. In 23 appearances (12 starts), he had a Wins Above Replacement value of just 0.1 and set career worsts in ERA, WHIP, and HR/9.
The Red Sox now find themselves wanting to shed payroll. Had they not given Eovaldi such a generous contract, that task would be much easier. Even more frustrating is the fact that his value is practically nonexistent, as no contending team will want to take on any of that contract in a trade after his showing in 2019.
The Red Sox might be stuck with Eovaldi for a while. All we can do as fans is hope that he can at least pitch well enough next season to possibly regain some value. In the meantime, the team will likely have to part ways with a far better asset thanks to Eovaldi’s deal.