The Boston Red Sox acquired right-handed pitcher Nathan Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for lefty prospect Jalen Beeks on Wednesday, first reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal on Twitter. Boston made the deal official shortly after Rosenthal’s report.
Eovaldi went 3-4 with a 4.26 ERA in 10 starts with the Rays in 2018. He’s gone at least six innings with two runs allowed or fewer in four of his last five starts, with one abysmal outing (eight runs in 2.2 innings against the Twins on July 13) mixed in. He’s posted a solid 3.58 ERA over that span.
Though he hasn’t pitched particularly well against the American League’s top contenders this season, Eovaldi has been effective overall against right-handed batters. Righties are batting just .207 with a .631 OPS against him in 2018. Recent injuries to both Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright necessitated a move for Red Sox president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski to make a move to bolster the team’s starting pitching depth.
Eovaldi is in the midst of a comeback from his second Tommy John surgery. He first had the procedure done as a 17-year-old, but couldn’t avoid having to get it again. He went under the knife in August 2016, then when he was a member of the New York Yankees, and missed the entire 2017 season as a result.
The veteran righty has a chance to be a valuable addition for the back end of the Red Sox rotation, which has always leaned heavily toward lefties. But the Red Sox’ biggest need remains in the bullpen, especially for a legitimate eighth-inning setup man behind Craig Kimbrel. They were in on Zach Britton, but the ex-Oriole is headed to the Bronx to strengthen the Yankees’ already-dangerous relief corps.
Dombrowski clearly had enough in the Red Sox’ continually shrinking pool of prospects to land a depth starter, but questions remain on whether he’ll have enough to get an impact reliever before the July 31 deadline. And it certainly doesn’t help that league rivals in New York and Cleveland are getting the pieces that Boston wished it could.
Eovaldi is a good-enough addition by itself, but Dombrowski shouldn’t be done making moves at this point.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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