On Sunday, The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported that up to eight teams not named the Boston Red Sox are interested in acquiring the services of free agent RHP Nathan Eovaldi.
“Nathan Eovaldi, RHP, free agent — The early suitors are the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, Angels, Red Sox, White Sox, Blue Jays, Padres, and Gianrts. There’s likely to be more. Eovaldi would love to stay in Boston and the Red Sox will take their best shot.”
Given that Eovaldi will only be 29 next season and no compensatory draft pick will have to be given up to sign him, it makes sense that the right-hander has a high volume of suitors this early in the offseason.
Out of the clubs listed above, I would venture to say that about five are intending to contend for a World Series title in 2019.
The Brewers, Braves, and defending champion Red Sox are all coming off postseason appearances this October, while teams like the Phillies and Angels may have come up short this year, but have the resources to bounce back in 2019.
On the other side of this spectrum, the White Sox, Blue Jays, Padres, and Giants all finished with losing records this past season, but seem keen on at least making things interesting next year.
Take for instance the reports that the White Sox appear to be in on a number of big-money free agents this winter, such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, or the reports that the Padres have been interesting in adding a high-end starter, such as Noah Syndergaard, for some time now.
As for the Blue Jays and Giants, well, neither club seems to be in the best position to compete in 2019, but both were in the postseason as recently as 2016, so there’s that.
In terms of what the Red Sox should do, that depends on how much they truly value Eovaldi.
Like Cafardo reports above, the Texas native has made it clear that he would like to remain in a Red Sox uniform for the forseeable future, but that will obviously come at a decently hefty price.
There are other starting pitching options, internal and on the free agency market, but Eovaldi has already proven that he can do what others can’t, pitch on the biggest stage in the biggest market with the spotlight on him. A 1.61 postseason ERA is quite evident of that.
If retaining Eovaldi equates to moving on from free agent reliever Joe Kelly, then I believe that is a move Dave Dombrowksi has to be willing to make in order to round out what should be one of the best starting rotations in the American League.