Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston has a good column up about what the Red Sox should do this winter and into next season. I take issue with the headline — “Sounds crazy, but the Red Sox can be saved” — because, dude, they still won 90 frickin’ games and are insanely talented. It’s not like they require super human efforts here. It’d be way crazier to suggest that some beer, fried chicken and a late-season skid suddenly turned these guys into the Chicago Cubs.
But there are a lot of intriguing ideas in the mix. One of them: make Daniel Bard a starter. Which, sure, is something he did when he first came into the Sox organization. Except he was horrendous in that role, walking guys like he was paid to do it and striking guys out at a rate less than half of what he’d go on to do as a reliever. I suppose stranger things have happened, but I could never see the Sox making Bard a starter now.
But yeah, some of the other stuff — such as giving Carl Crawford a set place in the lineup and leaving him alone — is good. Most important of all, however, is resisting the urge to panic and make dumb decisions based on a couple of unfortunate weeks.
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.