Red Sox rumors: 2 top free-agent pitchers could sign before MLB Winter Meetings

BOSTON, MA - MAY 28: Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox pumps his fist after the final out of their 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles in game one of a doubleheader at Fenway Park on May 28, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 28: Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox pumps his fist after the final out of their 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles in game one of a doubleheader at Fenway Park on May 28, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /
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Two Boston Red Sox free-agent pitchers could have new contracts this week.

According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the markets for Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Strahm have heated up to the point that at least one will sign on the dotted line before the Winter Meetings, which begin on Sunday, December 4.

The question is, with whom?

Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Strahm could sign new contracts before MLB Winter Meetings

Strahm only spent one season with the Sox, but he impressed among an unimpressive bullpen. Over a career-high 50 relief appearances, he posted a 3.83 ERA with 10 games finished and four saves. Across 44 2/3 innings, he struck out 52 batters, issued 17 walks, and allowed 19 earned runs, but only five homers. He was an above-average strikeout pitcher, well below league-average in giving up home runs, and excelled at inducing weak contact.

The final year of Eovaldi’s four-year, $68M extension didn’t go as well. After finishing fourth in American League Cy Young voting and receiving MVP votes in 2021, the 2018 World Series hero once again had an injury-limited season. He spent over two months on the Injured List between two stints, so he only pitched 109 1/3 innings over 20 starts. He posted a 3.87 ERA, but allowed 21 home runs, the second-most of any season of his 11-year career; he gave up 23 homers in 124 2/3 innings with the Yankees in 2016.

Eovaldi received a Qualifying Offer from the Red Sox, and they’ve reportedly made him a multi-year offer as well, which came as a surprise, given that there hadn’t been any substantial extension discussions between team and pitcher before. The Sox would benefit from bringing Strahm back, as their current bullpen is heavy on right-handers, but he’s reportedly hoping to transition back into a starting role, despite his success in relief this year.