Nathan Eovaldi was a revelation last postseason with the Boston Red Sox. The right hander’s 22 and 1/3 innings (only allowed 4 earned runs) were instrumental in helping Boston claim another championship victory. In addition to the World Series ring, his heroics also earned him a pretty 4-year $68 million contract with the team. A contract that Dave Dombrowski and the rest of the front office should be worried about.
This is the first of the 4-year contract Eovaldi signed this past offseason, and it has gone horrifically. The 29-year old has only been able to pitch a little over 36 innings due to injury, but even when he has been on the field he has been terrible. His 6.69 ERA and 1.62 WHIP has not been helping a team in pursuit of the playoffs.
There is almost always a risk in signing a starting pitcher to an expensive deal, but with Eovaldi it was a little bit riskier. He has battled injuries his entire career, failing to reach 200 innings in any season of his career. Granted he was only an out short of that in 2014, but other than that outlier, his highest inning total for a season is 154 and 1/3. Before putting pen to paper he already had two Tommy John surgeries and another elbow procedure (the same one he had this year) to remove ‘loose bodies’ in his throwing arm.
Dombrowski and company were blinded by his postseason performance when they gave him a deal worth $17 million a year. Nothing he has done over his career should have warranted a deal of that size (other than what he did in October). Eovaldi can’t stay healthy and has never been anything special on the hill over his eight years, and so far it appears he won’t change that narrative during his Boston tenure.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)