Sox sign Eovaldi: A Risk Worth Taking

Around here we are still kind of basking in the glow of a World Series victory, but while we’ve been largely ignoring it, HOT STOVE SEASON (aka: the best part of baseball) is firing on all cylinders. 

The Yanks made a huge move a few weeks ago in acquiring James Paxton. The Nats signed the top Free Agent pitcher, Patrick Corbin, to a 6-year deal. And just this morning the Cardinals and Diamondbacks pulled off a blockbuster, with one of the game’s greats Paul Goldschmidt moving on to St Louis. 

Aside from the overrated signing of bench piece/ lucky sonofabitch, Steve Pearce, the hometown nine have been very quiet. Until…

The Sox made their move this morning, and locked up Mr. Rubberarm himself, Nate Eovaldi. Our sources have it as a 4 year deal, with an AAV exceeding 17M ($70-72M total). That’s a lot of dough for basically 4 months of quality performance. 

I can’t stand when teams overpay for snippets of recent success. The Sox were guilty of this in 2007 (see: Lowell, Mike), and that blew up in their face. In this case, it’s a 28 year old who has never lived up to his talent and stuff, has TWO Tommy John’s under his belt, and who Cora just rode hard throughout October. 

So obviously, I hate this move….

I actually like this move, despite the (obvious, and fairly likely) downside, of paying him to be a frontline starter. 

  • Even considering that 5 months ago, nobody in their right mind would’ve predicted a 4 year deal, for anything close to 17.5M for Eovaldi…it’s really not a crazy deal. This was Eovaldi’s best season ever, especially his run with the Sox. He added a cutter this year, and threw it a lot. It led to lot more swings, and a lot more swings and misses. Random improvement is not always reliable…when there is a reason for it, it might be a nice thing to bet on. If it plays out, he could be a nice #2-3 starter- type, which is worth the money. 
  • Sale and Porcello are gone after this year, unless they agree to extensions. I think both will be gone. Having a talented arm locked up is key for the rotation, as well as for leverage. 
  • If it doesn’t work as a starter, whether in 2019, or in 2021, I have no doubt Eovaldi has the ability to be a dominant reliever. And those guys are getting $10M+ anyway, so the floor is high here. 

I’m not saying this is a slam-dunk, far from it. But the upside is, he’s a guy with stuff who has figured out how to be a front-line starter at 28 after mastering a new pitch- which happens all the time across MLB. And the downside is, he ends an overpaid but effective late inning reliever. 

For four years, that’s risk worth taking. 

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