Nathan Eovaldi’s time with the Red Sox has apparently come to an end.
The veteran right-hander has agreed to sign with the Rangers, according to FanSided’s Robert Murray. Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that it is a two-year, $34 million contract that includes a vesting option for 2025 as well as performance bonuses that can take the value of the deal — which is pending a physical — even higher.
Going into further detail, Eovaldi can earn up to $3 million in bonuses per year if he reaches 160 innings, per Passan. The third-year option is dependent on how many innings he pitches over the next two seasons. If he can reach the 300-inning plateau from 2023-2024, he will receive a $20 million player option in 2025. In total, Eovaldi could earn up to $63 million over the next three years.
Eovaldi, who turns 33 in February, became a free agent for the third time in his career last month after spending the better part of the last five seasons in Boston. The Red Sox never approached Eovaldi about a possible contract extension during the 2022 regular season but did express interest in a reunion once the World Series ended and the offseason began.
In addition to extending Eovaldi a $19.65 million qualifying offer, the Red Sox also gave him a multi-year contract offer. The righty rejected both and instead elected to hit the open market.
Recent reports suggested that other teams were showing more interest in Eovaldi than the Red Sox were. Since Eovaldi will now be taking his talents to Texas, Boston will receive a compensatory pick after the fourth round of next year’s amateur draft.
Originally acquired from the Rays ahead of the 2018 trade deadline, Eovaldi played a key role in helping the Red Sox win a World Series title that October. He posted a 3.33 ERA (2.88 FIP) over 12 appearances (11 starts, 54 innings) down the stretch in the regular season and then pitched to a 1.61 ERA (2.71 FIP) in the postseason. His most memorable outing during that run came in Game 3 of the World Series against the Dodgers, when he tossed six one-run innings of relief in a loss in an effort to preserve the Boston bullpen.
After needing just five games to triumph over the Dodgers in the Fall Classic, the Red Sox signed Eovaldi to a four-year, $68 million deal at the Winter Meetings that December.
Eovaldi’s first full season in Boston was marred by injuries, but he bounced back in 2020 and then put together a career year in 2021 by forging a 3.75 ERA (2.79 FIP) with 195 strikeouts to 35 walks over 32 starts (182 1/3 innings). He made his first All-Star team that summer and wound up finishing fourth in American League Cy Young voting.
This past season, Eovaldi proved to be effective yet again. He produced a respectable 3.87 ERA (4.30 FIP) and walked just 4.4 percent of the batters he faced. But he was limited to just 20 starts spanning 109 1/3 innings of work due to bouts with lower back and right shoulder inflammation that required two separate stints on the injured list. Those injuries may have contributed to a dip in his fastball velocity this year.
All told, Eovaldi compiled a lifetime 4.05 ERA (3.73 FIP) in 96 career appearances (461 1/2 innings) across five seasons with the Red Sox. He served as Boston’s Jimmy Fund captain over the last two years and was the club’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award in 2021.
By agreeing to a deal with the Rangers, Eovaldi will be returning home to Texas. The Houston-area native is slated to join a starting rotation mix in Arlington that includes fellow free agent additions Jacob deGrom and Andrew Heaney, former teammate Martin Perez, and Jon Gray, among others. He will also be reunited with former Red Sox bench coach Will Venable, who left Alex Cora’s staff to become associate manager under Bruce Bochy last month.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, have now lost two members of their 2022 starting rotation to free agency in the same day. Just hours before news of Eovaldi’s agreement with the Rangers broke, it was revealed that left-hander Rich Hill had agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal with the Pirates.
As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox have made it clear that they would like to add a starter or two to a rotation mix that is projected to include Chris Sale, James Paxton, Brayan Bello, and Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock, and possibly even Tanner Houck heading into the 2023 campaign.
While Eovaldi and Hill are off the table, Michael Wacha — who made 23 starts for Boston in 2022 — remains unsigned. Other options available via free agency include Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke, and Corey Kluber, who has already been linked to the Red Sox this winter.
(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)