Andrew Benintendi Will Bat Leadoff for the #RedSox in 2019.

When speaking with reporters in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora made the following announcement.

Now, some of you may be thinking: why change something that does not necessarily need to be changed? Well, we got a glimpse of Andrew Benintendi in the leadoff spot in the Red Sox lineup this past season when Mookie Betts hit the disabled list with a left abdominal strain, and he was spectacular in that role.

In 14 games manning the one-hole in Betts’ absence, Benintendi slashed a sizzling .328/.391/.724 to go along with five home runs and 11 home runs.

On the 2018 campaign as a whole, the Ohio native posted a .979 OPS over 22 contests as the leadoff man for Boston.

Mookie Betts is without a doubt one of the best hitters in baseball. His MVP Award is indicative of that. But, if given if the opportunity to slide down in the Red Sox lineup, the likelihood of the 26-year-old driving in more runs increases.

According to Baseball Reference, Betts came to the plate when runners were on base 205 times in 2018.

In those 205 plate appearances, the Tennessee native hit his way to a .319/.444/.613 slash line in addition to nine homers and 57 RBI. He also drove in 48 runs in 113 plate appearances with runners in scoring position.

With the top third of the 2019 Red Sox lineup looking like it’s going to be Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and JD Martinez, I just want to say good luck to the opposing pitchers who’ll have to deal with that on a regular basis.

 

#RedSox Reintroduce Nathan Eovaldi at Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.

After officially signing a four-year contract with the Boston Red Sox this past Thursday, Nathan Eovaldi was formally reintroduced as a member of the club at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas along side Alex Cora and Dave Dombrowski.

Although there was no cap or jersey present for photo opportunities like you usually see at these press conferences, there were still plenty of questions to be asked regarding Eovaldi’s decision to remain with Boston and the Red Sox’s pursuit of the right-hander.

“We’re very thrilled to have Nate back in the organization,” President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said to open things up, “He did a tremendous job for us last season. Joined us for the regular season and the postseason. For us it was really focused on if we could bring Nate back, and fortunately it worked out.”

Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays on July 25th, Eovaldi posted a 3.33 ERA while recording 48 strikeouts over 54 total innings pitched and 12 appearances (11 starts) with Boston before reaching his first ever postseason.

There, the Houston native shined with a 1.61 ERA, a .185 BAA, and the performance of a lifetime in Game Three of the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“What he did was amazing,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora, “Like he was saying, for me personally that was like the biggest moment of the World Series, for him to compete at that level.”

“The conversations in between innings, they were cool. And I remember the last one when I asked him, How are you feeling, he said, Let me finish it. He said it with a lot of conviction. I knew he was good.”

Those six-plus frames of relief from Eovaldi may have ultimately led to Boston’s only loss in this year’s Fall Classic, but it seemingly earned the admiration of Red Sox fans everywhere, and that more than likely played a role in the 28-year-old’s free agency decision.

“The love and support that they were showing me throughout that whole series and especially after that Game Three, gives me goosebumps just thinking about it,” Eovaldi said, “And it’s definitely a special moment and dear to my heart. I want to come back be a part of that.”

Eovaldi also mentioned how he had offers from other clubs to work out of the bullpen and close games, but he did not see himself taking on that role.

“I view myself as a starter, and that’s something I’ve always done my entire career. And I enjoy doing that. So if I had that choice, I still wanted to be a starter.”

The former 11th round pick’s new contract is worth a grand total of $68 million through 2022. He’s had Tommy John surgery twice, and is confident in the Red Sox training staff.

“I feel I can trust my training staff. That’s a big role in me coming over here as well,” Eovaldi said, “And anytime I feel anything, I tell them, and we start the rehab or the treatment for it. And then if it gets worse, then we take time off. But I think we’ve been able to work through a lot of things and stay healthy.”

A two-time recipient of Tommy John surgery, health and durability will remain to be a prevalent factor in Eovaldi’s tenure with the Red Sox, but he has the backing of the club’s coaching staff.

“Four years of Nathan [Eovaldi], that’s going to be great for the organization,” said Alex Cora.

 

Cincinnati Reds Claim Robby Scott off Waivers from #RedSox.

On Monday afternoon, the Red Sox announced that LHP Robby Scott had been claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal originally reported this deal as a trade between the two clubs, but that does not appear to be the case any longer.

It was not made public that Scott, 29, was put on waivers by Boston, but given the fact that their 40-man roster was at full capacity before this transaction, it makes sense the left-hander would be someone the club would be willing to part ways with.

In 73 career appearances with the Red Sox, Scott posted a 3.91 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 48.1 innings pitched in three different seasons. Recently though, the Florida native’s numbers took a hit, as he surrendered six earned runs in just 6.2 innings of work in 2018.

Known for his success against left-handed bats, Scott will have the opportunity to redeem himself with a club that finished ninth in the National League in bullpen ERA (4.14) this past season.

This transaction also comes two days after former Red Sox minor league infielder and noted pinch runner Tony Renda signed a minor-league contract with Cincinnati.

The Red Sox’s 40-man roster now stands at 39.

Mike Napoli, a World Series Champion with the #RedSox in 2013, Retires from Baseball After 12 Big League Seasons.

On Saturday afternoon, former Red Sox infielder Mike Napoli announced his retirement from professional baseball via Twitter.

Napoli, 37, was originally drafted out of high school by the Los Angeles Angels in 2000 and spent the first five years of his major league career there, as well as two years with the Texas Rangers before inking a one-year deal with the Red Sox prior to the start of the 2013 season.

A native of Florida, Napoli made his impact felt immediately with his new club, as he mashed 23 home runs and drove in a then career high 92 RBI while regularly patrolling first base.

After the Red Sox made their way back to the postseason in 2013, Napoli did not necessarily have an October to remember numbers wise, but he did hit a pair of home runs in the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.

In Game One of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the one-time catcher drove in three runs on one swing of the bat on a bases-clearing three RBI double off of Adam Wainwright in the first inning. The Red Sox would go on to win that opening contest by a final score of 8-1.

In Game Four, with the assist from Koji Uehara, Napoli picked off pinch-runner Kolten Wong as he was attempting to slide back to first base for the deciding out in a 4-2 win for Boston.

And in the sixth and final game of the 2013 Fall Classic, Napoli knocked in one of six runs for the Red Sox on a fourth inning RBI single off of Lance Lynn as the club went on to clinch their eighth World Series title.

Napoli would go on to spend another season-and-a-half with Boston before being traded to the Texas Rangers in August of 2015. He also played in another World Series with the Cleveland Indians in 2016.

Finishing his 12-year with career with a slash line of .246/.346/.475 to go along with 267 home runs and 744 RBI over the course of 1392 total games played, Napoli’s time in baseball certainly was not Hall of Fame worthy, but it was memorable.

I know I don’t talk about the 2013 team enough on here, but Napoli was special in that regard. He had the ability to bring a clubhouse together and appeared to be well liked by both players and fans at each stop he made along the way.

So, thanks for 2013 and doing your part in healing the city during uneasy times, Nap. You will forever be a legend in Boston.

A Breakdown of Nathan Eovaldi’s New Four-Year Contract with the #RedSox.

On Thursday, the Boston Red Sox signed RHP Nathan Eovaldi to a four-year, $68 million deal through the 2022 season. The specific details of that contract were not announced at the time the club made the signing public, but that changed on Friday night thanks in part to Fancred’s Jon Heyman:

As it turns out, the average annual value of Eovaldi’s new contract, $17 million, will actually be how much he earns per season, presumably before taxes.

On top of that, Heyman reported that the right-hander would receive signing bonuses of $50,000 for potential All-Star team selections, third place finishes in MVP and Cy Young Award voting, and League Championship Series appearances/MVP selections.

Eovaldi would also receive bonuses of $75,000 for finishing as the runner-up in MVP and Cy Young Award voting.

And finally, if the Houston native wins himself another World Series or is named MVP or the Cy Young Award winner, he will receive signing bonuses of up to $100,000.

Looking ahead to Boston’s 2019 payroll, which will undoubtedly be the most expensive in all of baseball again, it looks like Eovaldi will earn the fourth most on the team behind David Price ($31M), JD Martinez ($23.7M), and Rick Porcello ($21M).

#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.

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.