#RedSox Officialy Sign Nathan Eovaldi to Four-Year, $68 Million Deal.

The Boston Red Sox on Thursday evening officially announced that they had signed RHP Nathan Eovaldi to a four-year contract.

Per Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, Eovaldi’s deal is worth a grand total of $68 million and keeps him under team control through the 2022 season. The specific details have yet to be released, but that comes out to an AAV of $17 million per year for the next four years.

Entering his age 29 season in 2019, the right-hander joined Boston when he was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in late July in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Jalen Beeks.

In 12 regular season appearances (11 starts) with the Red Sox, Eovaldi went 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA and 48 strikeouts over 54 innings pitched before reaching his first ever postseason, where the Houston native proceeded to shine to the tune of a 1.61 ERA and .185 BAA over the course of 22.1 frames and six total appearances (two starts) in October.

Without a doubt, Eovaldi benefited from those stellar postseason numbers and was rewarded with a nice pay-day from the team that traded for him on Tuesday.

Like all hefty contracts, risk is certainly a factor. The ACES client has already had Tommy John surgery twice, once when he was a junior in high school and the second occurrence coming when he was with the New York Yankees in 2016.

But, other factors, such as an average four-seam fastball velocity of 97.2 MPH in 2018 and a 1.93 career ERA in 23.1 career innings pitched against the Yankees, more than likely outweigh that risk.

Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski expressed interest in a reunion with Eovaldi at the premier of the team’s World Series film this past Monday, and less than 72 hours later, a deal is done.

As for what’s next, well, according to @RedSoxStats and @RedSoxPayroll, “This deal pushes the projected payroll to about $243 million [for 2019].”

Joe Kelly is a key free agent who remains unsigned and the probable departure of Craig Kimbrel leaves the club with another open spot in the bullpen.

If someone like Kelly or Zach Britton or David Robertson were to sign with Boston, the team would need to make space on their 40-man roster for that to happen, as the Eovaldi deal pushes the club’s roster size to exactly 40.

Winter Meetings start in Las Vegas this coming Sunday, so if nothing happens before then, expect the rumors to start swirling again early next week.

For now, I leave you with some Nathan “Nasty Nate” Eovaldi highlights. Welcome back to Boston.

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New York Yankees Reportedly “Shifting Focus” to #RedSox Free Agent Nathan Eovaldi with Patrick Corbin Joining Washington Nationals.

Earlier Tuesday afternoon, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported the following:

This tweet came mere minutes after it was reported that free-agent LHP Patrick Corbin signed a six-year/$140 million deal with the Washington Nationals, thus eliminating New York, who appeared to be the favorites to sign Corbin, from the sweepstakes.

Despite already re-signing veteran lefty CC Sabathia and acquiring another southpaw in the form of James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners, it still appears as though Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman is doing everything in his power to shore up his starting rotation.

With Corbin, 29, off the table now, it only makes sense that a club in need of pitching would turn its attention to another attractive option, and when taking age and recency into account, that would be none other than RHP Nathan Eovaldi.

Eovaldi, 28, spent two seasons with New York from 2015 to 2016, where he posted a 4.45 ERA and 1.39 WHIP over 51 appearances (48 starts) and 279 total innings pitched before being released in November of 2016.

A two-time recipient of Tommy John Surgery, Eovaldi signed a one-year deal that included a player option with the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the start of the 2017 season. A deal that ultimately ended with the Texas native in a Red Sox uniform and a World Series champion in 2018.

Now, thanks to his stellar first ever postseason in a contract year, Eovaldi is set for a huge pay-day this winter.

It has been reported that the right-hander would like to return to Boston, and that feeling is mutual, according to President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski, who spoke with media on Monday night at the premiere of the Red Sox World Series documentary.

“We’ve expressed we do have interest in bringing Nathan back,” Dombrowski said. “We’ve talked to him, but so have a lot of other people. There’s a lot of interest in him.”

Late last week, the Houston Astros, a team the Red Sox defeated on their way to that World Series title, were seen as a club heavily interested in acquiring the services of Eovaldi, and now the New York Yankees have joined in as well.

There are more than likely other clubs in the mix as well, meaning the Red Sox will really have to make a legitimate offer to retain Eovaldi’s services.

It’s a tough spot to be in, but Eovaldi has already proven what he can do on the biggest stage in the biggest market. Unless Dombrowski feels confident in other options out in the trade or free agency market, Eovaldi should be the way to go. Pay the man his money and shore up one of the best rotations in the American League.

 

#RedSox and Tyler Thornburg Avoid Arbitration, Come to Terms on One-Year, Non-Guaranteed Deal for 2019 Season.

The Boston Red Sox announced on Friday morning that they had made the following roster moves:

There were legitimate rumors circulating the past few days that Thornburg had a chance to be non-tendered by the Red Sox today, but the two sides came to an agreement prior to the 8 PM ET deadline.

Per NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich, Thornburg’s new deal is worth, “$1.75 million with $400K in potential bonuses for games pitched.”

Since being acquired by Boston from the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the start of the 2017 season, Thornburg, 30, did not make his Red Sox debut until this past July.

In the 25 games he appeared in as a reliever during the 2018 campaign, the right-hander posted an unsightly 5.63 ERA and .901 OPS against to go along with 21 strikeouts and 10 walks over 24 total innings of work.

Limited this year because of thoracic outlet surgery on his throwing shoulder in March, Thornburg was eventually shut down in late September and did not pitch for Boston in the postseason.

Known by Red Sox fans as the pitcher the club gave up slugging infielder Travis Shaw and promising prospect Mauricio Dubon for, Thornburg’s tenure in Boston has been far from memorable, and he’ll have to make the Opening Day roster out of spring training in order for his 2019 salary to be guaranteed.

Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski also announced on Friday that the team will tender contracts for the 2019 season to all 29 players on the Red Sox major league roster who are unsigned.

 

The #RedSox, Along with Four Other Teams, Reportedly Have Strong Interest in Acquiring Mariners All-Star Closer Edwin Diaz.

On Tuesday night, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported that the Boston Red Sox were one of five teams interested in acquiring the services of Mariners closer and 2018 American League Reliever of the Year Edwin Diaz.

In his report, Sherman states that outside of Boston, other players for Diaz include the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies.

Given the fact that the Mariners dealt their ace, James Paxton, to the Yankees earlier in the month, it does appear as though Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto’s club is heading towards a retooling period beginning in 2019.

With that in mind, parting ways with the best closer in the American League West in exchange for a haul of prospects makes sense.

At just 24 years old, not only is Diaz coming off an elite season in which he recorded 57 saves and posted a K/9 of 15.2, he also has four more years of team control left before hitting free agency in 2022.

The Red Sox certainly do not have the farm system to produce the prospects the Mariners would be seeking in this potential deal, but if the club’s interest is that strong, there may be a way to get it done, albeit at a hefty price.

“Seattle is willing to consider less if a team takes on [Robinson] Cano, who is 36 and served an 80-game suspension last year for testing positive for a banned substance,” Sherman reports.

An eight-time All-Star, Cano inked a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners prior to the start of the 2014 season, meaning there is still five years and $120 million remaining on his contract.

With the Red Sox 2019 payroll already looking like it’s going to be one of the more expensive in baseball once again, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski, or even principal owner John Henry, would be willing to take that much money on, especially when the team still owes second baseman Dustin Pedroia $40 million over the next three years.

Similar to how Dombrowski acquired another elite closer and current free agent in Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres with three-years remaining on his previous contract, landing Diaz for at least his age 25 to 28 seasons would be something.

But, barring a way the Red Sox find a position for Cano to play on a regular basis, I don’t believe the club has the prospects to offer that the Yankees, Phillies, or Braves have in order to get a deal done.

Regardless of that though, Diaz would be a fantastic addition to the end of a bullpen that had their struggles throughout the 2018 season. Winter Meetings begin on December 9th in Las Vegas, so maybe talks will materialize there.

Longtime #RedSox Minor Leaguer Dan Butler Retires as World Series Champion, Joins Arizona Diamondbacks Coaching Staff as Bullpen Catcher.

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced on Tuesday night that they had finalized their major league coaching staff for the upcoming 2019 season.

Among the additions was now retired and former Red Sox catcher Dan Butler, and that was all but confirmed with a tweet from the Pawtucket Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon.

Butler, 32, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Red Sox in 2009 and spent nine out of 10 professional seasons with the club.

A product of the University of Arizona, Butler was never deemed a big name prospect by Boston. Instead, he was viewed more as organizational depth who really never got an opportunity to see regular playing time in the majors.

In the two times he was called up by the Red Sox, the backstop appeared in a total of seven games in 2014, and then appeared in two games this past season while both Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart were on the disabled list.

Over that short span, Butler slashed .200/.222/.320 with no home runs and three RBI, one of which came in a game against the Baltimore Orioles in August.

Outside of the Red Sox, Butler also spent one season in the Washington Nationals system following a trade between the two clubs in early 2015.

There, with Triple A Syracuse, the Arizona native posted a .631 OPS over 83 games played and was later re-signed to a minor league contract by the Red Sox prior to the start of spring training in 2016.

In total, Butler appeared in 768 minor league games in a span of 10 years, and finished with a slash line of .253/.345/.397 as well as 61 homers and 343 RBI.

It certainly wasn’t Hall of Fame worthy, but Butler goes out as a World Series champion and a well-respected member of the Red Sox organization.

He should receive approximately $416,837.72 in postseason shares from the Red Sox winning the World Series and his presence will be missed.

With Arizona though, Butler is closer to home and joins a few names Red Sox fans should be familiar with, such as Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen, manager Torey Lovullo, and new assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske.

Hanley Ramirez Is Hitting Home Runs in Winter League and I Am Here for It.

The Boston Red Sox released Hanley Ramirez on May 30th of this past season after he slashed .254/.313/.395 with six home runs and 29 RBI over 44 games in his fourth year with the club.

Ramirez, 34, did not latch on with another club for the remainder of the 2018 campaign, but he’s back in action now with Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League.

Joining the Santo Domingo-based organization, the oldest franchise in the DR, for the fourth time in his career on November 13th, Ramirez entered Sunday with a .793 OPS in five games and had yet to hit a home run.

That all changed in the bottom of the third inning of Sunday’s contest against the Aguilas Cibaenas though, as the three-time All-Star ripped his first meaningful home run since May 12th, a three-run shot off of left-hander Framber Valdez to pull the Tigres even at four runs a piece.

The Tigres went on to defeat the Aguilas Cibaenas by a final score of 6-5 to improve to 17-17 on the season.

Ramirez finished the night 1/3 with that lone home run. He has served as the DH in all six Winter League games he has appeared in.

Entering his age 35 season in 2019, the Dominican native seems more suited for a spot with an American League team at this stage in his career. It will also be interesting to see who Ramirez’s suitors are in the coming weeks and what kind of role the 14-year veteran is willing to take on.

 

#RedSox Add Top Prospect Michael Chavis to 40-Man Roster Among Other Roster Moves Ahead of Rule 5 Draft.

As the Rule 5 Draft approaches, all 30 Major League Baseball clubs were responsible for setting their 40-man rosters before 8 PM ET on Tuesday so that certain players will not be eligible to be drafted by other teams come the last day of Winter Meetings in December.

Before Tuesday, the Red Sox’s 40-man roster hovered at 35 with some prevalent prospects yet to be added.

That all changed this evening when the Red Sox sent out a press release/tweet announcing the following roster transactions:

Players such as the organization’s top prospect Michael Chavis, LHP Darwinzon Hernandez, and RHP Travis Lakins being added to the 40-man do not come as much of a surprise.

RHP William Cuevas, who appeared in nine games, one of which was a start, for the Red Sox in 2018, was released so that he could pursue an opportunity overseas with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization.

RHP Austin Maddox, who made the ALDS roster for Boston back in 2017, was essentially cut from the 40-man, as he was outrighted to Triple A Pawtucket.

And finally, other than the trade for RHP Colten Brewer that you can read bout here, the Red Sox also added LHP Josh Taylor and RHP Denyi Reyes, two pitching prospects, to their major league roster to wrap up a crazy day around baseball.

With the club’s current 40-man roster now standing at 39 players, it is a bit puzzling why one spot was left empty.

1B Josh Ockimey, 23 and ranked as Boston’s 10th best prospect on MLB.com, hit 20 home runs and collected 70 RBI in 117 games between Double A Portland and Triple A Pawtucket, but was left off the 40-man roster.

Unless Ockimey’s shortcomings, such as a .460 OPS against left-handed pitchers at the Triple A level, are enough to keep teams away, it would not be a shock if the 2014 fifth round pick is selected in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

Anyway, keep in mind that the roster you see before you is far from concrete.

With the possibility of names such as Nathan Eovaldi, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel coming back as well as other free agents, moves will need to be made in order to get those players a spot on the 25-man roster. Meaning that there is much more to come, so stay tuned for that.

Also, if you want to check out more about the prospects listed above, here is MLB.com’s list of the top 30 prospects in the Red Sox’s system.