Mariano Rivera has confirmed reports that he had talks with the Red Sox prior to re-signing with the Yankees for $30 million over two years, saying: “It was real.”
Rivera didn’t verify reports that his agent actually initiated contact with Boston, but made it pretty clear that he viewed the Red Sox as a legitimate option if negotiations with the Yankees broke down.
“I made sure that I thanked [the Red Sox], because they took me into consideration,” Rivera told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. “But, again, this is business, and the Yankees did the right thing. And I’m here.”
Asked if he ever truly felt pitching for the Red Sox was a realistic possibility, Rivera said: “It would’ve been different. I don’t think so. I don’t think the Yankees will allow that to happen. I just had to make sure that I had a job, and the Yankees did that.”
Unlike the Derek Jeter negotiations Rivera’s talks with the Yankees (and Red Sox) mostly went under the radar, with various details emerging only after he’d already re-signed. Boston reportedly offered him the same two-year, $30 million deal that he accepted from New York.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.