Joe Posnanski writes a lot of great, deep things. But it’s often his simplest observations that are the best. Like this one:
And so, in Mike Flanagan’s honor, I’ve come up with the Crafty Lefty Hall of Fame. To find my first Crafty Lefty class, I came up with what I consider the quintessential Crafty Lefty performance. I decided this is it: 7 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 3 runs, 3 strikeouts.
I agree that is a near-perfect crafty lefty line for historical purpoes, though we might want to lop off an inning due to reliever specialization in recent years. Pitching into the seventh now is totally crafty enough.
At any rate, Posnanski uses that line to search for his inaugural inductees to the Crafty Lefty Hall of Fame, which actually should exist. Perhaps in a converted utility closet just off the main hallway at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Befitting crafty lefties, the induction ceremonies should be weird and fun. Maybe everyone listens to some Little Feat for a while and then shoots the breeze for a bit. Because really, crafty lefties are anything but solemn.
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.