With Xander Bogaerts gone, Rafael Devers is officially the only player left from the Red Sox starting lineup of the deciding game of the 2018 World Series.
And if the Sox don’t re-sign Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Sale will be the only member of that championship season’s starting rotation.
Eovaldi is coming off a rough season, but he’s a beloved postseason hero in Boston and the free-agent starting pitcher market was already paper-thin before arms started coming off the board. But despite being limited to 109 1/3 innings due to a pair of stints on the Injured List, and posting a 3.87 ERA this year, he’s a better option for Boston than most other starters because they know he can thrive here when he’s healthy. And though the Sox don’t look remotely like a postseason team right now, if they somehow managed to be one, they’d want Eovaldi on the mound.
The Sox made Eovaldi a Qualifying Offer and a multi-year offer in November, but nothing has come from either. Over the weekend, WEEI’s Rob Bradford reported that other teams are showing “more interest” in Eovaldi than his former team. The Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams eyeing Eovaldi for their rotations.
Red Sox not favored to re-sign Nathan Eovaldi
In recent years, the Red Sox have earned the nickname ‘The Interest Kings,’ for being linked to or interested in pretty much everyone, but following through with almost no one. This month alone, they’ve been interested in several free agents, made numerous offers, and lost out on almost all of them. So far, Joely Rodriguez, Chris Martin, Kenley Jansen, and Masataka Yoshida are their only additions. There’s no way for them to recoup Xander Bogaerts, their biggest loss since Mookie Betts, either.
And at this point, with how the Bogaerts situation shook out, is anyone surprised that they’re fading into the background of the Eovaldi bidding? The shortstop was their “top priority” and still, their idea of a best offer to Bogaerts was reportedly six years, $160M. Given the market for starting pitching this winter (a bidding war for Andrew Heaney?!), it’s hard to see the Sox coming close to offering Eovaldi the kind of time and money he’ll get from a team more desperate to win.
What a difference four seasons make.
Since hoisting that trophy in Los Angeles, that Red Sox team, which won more regular-season games than any other in franchise history, has been gutted like a fish. They had a top-of-the-line model and let the best pieces go. In exchange, they’ve collected parts that combine to make a vastly inferior vehicle.
We’re all just along for the ride.