Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
The Nasty Chapter of Boston Red Sox history is officially over.
On Tuesday evening, FanSided’s own Robert Murray announced that Nathan Eovaldi is in agreement with the Texas Rangers on a contract pending a physical.
Jeff Passan quickly confirmed that the deal is for two years with a third-year vesting player option. ‘Nasty Nate’ will make $34M over the first two seasons, but the contract is also laden with performance bonuses.
Red Sox World Series hero Nathan Eovaldi signing 2-year deal with Rangers
Eovaldi will forever be one of, if not the greatest midseason acquisition in franchise history. The Sox acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays at the 2018 deadline, and he made an immediate impact. His arm fortified the Sox rotation, helping them stay on top of the American League East to win a franchise-record 108 regular-season games and their third consecutive division title.
But it was what Eovaldi did that postseason that will ensure he never pays for a beer in Boston for the rest of his life. Scheduled to start Game 4 of the 2018 World Series, manager Alex Cora instead summoned the righty to the mound with the game knotted 1-1 in the bottom of the 12th inning of Game 3. Over six innings in what would turn out to be the longest game in postseason history by innings and minutes, Eovaldi threw 97 pitches and allowed just three hits and one walk.
Eovaldi eventually gave up a walk-off solo home run to Max Muncy in the 18th inning, but his performance was so inspiring that his rotation mates lined up outside their manager’s door, begging to take the mound for him in Game 4. And even though he’d made relief appearances in each of the first three World Series games and thrown 36 more pitches and lasted 1 1/3 innings longer than Game 3 starter, Rick Porcello, Eovaldi still tried to convince Cora to still let him make his scheduled start.
The noble workhorse mentality further endeared him to fans. Pedro Martinez raved about the “gut and heart” Eovaldi displayed, and Porcello admitted that his teammate’s performance on the mound moved him to tears. How Eovaldi comported himself, what could very well have been a debilitating, tide-turning loss actually fueled the Sox to wake up and take the series. Two games later, they were champions.
Following the 2018 season, the Sox signed Eovaldi to an extension through 2022. Over 461 2/3 regular-season innings in Boston, he posted a 4.05 ERA that doesn’t do justice to his often-dominant work. He also made a masterful start against the New York Yankees in the 2021 American League Wild Card game; over 5 1/3 innings, he held his former team to one run, struck out eight, and didn’t issue a single walk.
This season, the injury bug bit Eovaldi again. He spent about two months on the Injured List between two stints. After finishing fourth in AL Cy Young voting in 2021, Eovaldi was limited to 109 1/3 innings across 20 starts this year. Typically excellently stingy with home runs, he allowed 21 round-trippers, the most since his 2016 season with the Yankees. His home-run rate more than doubled over last year’s, and his hard-hit rate skyrocketed by nearly 10%.
Still, in November, the Sox extended a Qualifying Offer and made a multi-year offer to Eovaldi, but he declined both. Now that they’ve lost a QO player, they will gain draft-pick compensation, a fourth-round pick.
It’s a small consolation; Eovaldi was already a free agent, but there was a chance he could return to Boston. Now that his departure is official, Chris Sale is the last remaining member of the 2018 starting rotation. This offseason, the Sox have bid adieu to several key members of that historic team: Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, and now, Eovaldi.
It definitely hasn’t been the kind of Nasty offseason Sox fans were hoping for.