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Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Red Sox have a number of important decisions to make in the coming weeks as the hot stove season approaches.

All this week, we here at 985thesportshub.com will be evaluating whether or not the Red Sox should re-sign their major impending free agents and what it might cost to keep members of the 2018 team around for the long-term.

On Monday, we took a look at Craig Kimbrel’s free agency status. Now, we turn our attention to postseason hero Nathan Eovaldi.

Nobody improved their market value more than Eovaldi did in October, meaning there should be plenty of suitors looking to lure him away with a big-money deal. Should the Red Sox pony up and keep the hard-throwing righty in Boston?

The likely cost:

A three or four-year contract somewhere in the $60 to $80 million range.

The argument for keeping Eovaldi:

Just put his October footage on a loop. Why wouldn’t you want to keep that guy around?

Eovaldi appeared to unlock his full potential with the Red Sox, thriving in any role the team put him in on their way to the World Series title. In addition to his October dominance, Eovaldi had a 3.33 regular season ERA with the team in 12 appearances, one of the better stretches of his career.

While it’s likely the Red Sox view Eovaldi as a starting pitcher, it’s hard not to think he could be an interesting option as a closer if Craig Kimbrel signs elsewhere and some contingency plans fall through. There is no denying that Eovaldi’s stuff was electric in relief in October and it is clear he has the makeup to close ballgames.

Oct 8, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (17) pitches in the first inning in game three of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The argument against keeping Eovaldi:

Come on, he can’t seriously be this good, right?

Eovaldi is 44-53 with a 4.16 ERA in his seven-year Major League career. His track record indicates that he is a respectable mid-to-back-end of the rotation pitcher, but nothing more than that. Those are the types of pitchers that you need to have on your team, but not at the premium price tag that will come with Eovaldi after his remarkable October.

His durability should be questioned, especially after abusing his arm in the postseason. Eovaldi has had two Tommy John surgeries, including his most recent procedure in 2016.

The verdict:

This one is a bit of a leap of faith that the version of Nathan Eovaldi we saw in October is closer to the version we have seen for the majority of his career. The stuff and the upside is too tantalizing to pass up.

The Red Sox should re-sign him. It won’t be cheap, and there should be plenty of competition for Eovaldi’s services among World Series contenders, but this one is worth the risk.

Prediction:

4 years, $72 million with the Boston Red Sox.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.