By the end of the season Wrigley Field’s playing surface was a mess thanks in part to all the non-baseball events it hosted and David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports that “the decision was made to completely remove the current field and replace it with all new sod and dirt to bring the field up to a more acceptable level for the players.”
According to Kaplan the total cost was $400,000 and the new surface is “a new blend of dirt and a Kentucky Bluegrass that was trucked in from Colorado.”
It’s basically the same setup the Cardinals installed recently and the Cubs will try to keep the new surface in decent shape by cutting down on the number of non-baseball events.
I realize $400,000 for some grass sounds like a ton of money, but when a couple hundred million dollars worth of professional athletes play on something in front of 40,000 paying customers 81 times per season it actually seems kind of cheap.
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.