Robert Murray of The Athletic reports that negotiations between the Red Sox and free agent pitcher Nathan Eovaldi are “intensifying.” Fancred’s Jon Heyman backs up Murray’s report, adding that he heard the current asking price is four years at $17 million per year.
It comes as no surprise that Eovaldi is using his strong 2018 campaign to attempt to command a four-year deal. The right-hander, who split his season between the Rays and Red Sox, posted a 3.81 ERA with a 101/20 K/BB ratio in 111 innings during the regular season. Eovaldi was aces for the Red Sox in the postseason, tossing 22 1/3 innings of 1.61 ERA ball, including a sterling six-inning relief performance in Game 3 of the World Series against the Dodgers, a game that lasted 18 innings.
Eovaldi is still on the right side of 30 years old, but banking on him to stay healthy over the course of a four-year deal is certainly a gamble. Eovaldi underwent Tommy John surgery in his junior year of high school, then underwent a second TJ surgery in August 2016. He missed the final seven weeks of the 2016 season, the entire 2017 season, and the first two months of the 2018 season. Eovaldi has only twice in his seven-year career crossed the 25-start threshold.
As I mentioned yesterday, however, the free agent market for starting pitching is weak now that Patrick Corbin is off the board. Eovaldi is on a short list of free agent starters that teams can point to and say he would make a noticeable impact. Those other pitchers include Dallas Keuchel, J.A. Happ, and Charlie Morton. Most teams are going to have to upgrade their rotations via trade. Teams that can’t or won’t may just have to agree to those four years for Eovaldi and others.
Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.
In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.
Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.
Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.