UPDATE: Rosenthal reports that Ross will get a total of $6.2 million over the two years. It’s well-deserved raise for Ross, who just finished up a two-year, $3.25 million extension with the Braves.
8:37 AM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Red Sox have signed catcher David Ross to a two-year contract, pending a physical. Terms aren’t yet available.
Widely regarded as one of the best backup catchers in the game, Ross batted .256/.321/.449 with nine home runs, 23 RBI and a .770 OPS over 196 plate appearances with the Braves this season while throwing out 44 percent of attempted basestealers. The 35-year-old has 24 homers, 94 RBI and an .816 OPS in 663 plate appearances dating back to 2009.
As for Ross’ role with his new team, Rosenthal hears that the veteran backstop will be “more than a backup but not a starter.” Meanwhile, the signing provides the Red Sox with more flexibility to listen to trade offers for both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway. The Braves had interest in keeping Ross, especially with Brian McCann coming off shoulder surgery, but they’ll now have to look elsewhere.
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.