Ken Rosenthal reports that free agent pitcher Nathan Eovaldi has agreed to return to the Boston Red Sox. The deal is pending a physical. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand says it will be a four-year deal worth $67.5 million.
Eovaldi split who began his 2018 season with the Rays and ended up with the Boston Red Sox, posted a 3.81 ERA with a 101/20 K/BB ratio in 111 innings during the regular season. He really made his money in the postseason, however, tossing 22.1 innings of 1.61 ERA ball, including his gutsy and instantly legendary six-inning relief performance in Game 3 of the World Series against the Dodgers.
Eovaldi will turn 29 before the 2019 season begins, but he is still a considerable health risk, having undergone two Tommy John surgeries in his career, most recently in 2016. The Red Sox, however, see him as a mainstay in the rotation for the next few years and believe he’s worth the gamble.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.