If you have been watching Red Sox games this season, you may have noticed that the bullpen is struggling. Boston relievers have combined for a 4.44 ERA in 2019 and have played a big part in the lackluster 45-40 record Boston currently sports. With that in mind, the Sox front office decided changes need to be made.
According to Tom Caron of NESN, Boston plans on sending starter Nathan Eovaldi into the bullpen to serve as the teams closer for the rest of the season once he returns from the injured list. A good move to get a reliable arm out in the pen, but as a Red Sox fan you have to be angry at the decision.
Yes, Eovaldi could be lights out and become the second coming of Mariano Rivera but I am struggling to find a reason to get excited about this. Here are three reasons why:
- Red Sox Still Need a Fifth Starter
Dave Dombroski and co. signed Eovaldi in the offseason to be their fifth starter. It has been repeated over and over again, but apparently that doesn’t matter. With the team accepting the idea of shifting Eovaldi to the pen, the Sox are going to have to continue without a fifth starter.
It is easy to say a combination of Steven Wright, Brian Johnson, and Hector Velasquez can pick up the slack, but can they? Wright is a knuckleballer coming off of a PED suspension while Velasquez and Johnson have both battled injuries this year, pitching poorly even when healthy.
- Their bullpen still won’t be good
Shocking I know, but Eovaldi can’t fix all their problems. Nasty Nate may be able to help out on the back end, but Boston still only really has one other legit reliever in Brandon Workman. Ryan Brasier is okay, Colten Brewer has no command, Marcus Walden continues to get exposed, and Matt Barnes has been overworked.
- Boston Could’ve Better Managed Their Money in the Offseason
I did not like the Eovaldi signing from the start. Sure having him back in Boston would’ve been great, but the front office decided to shell out $17 million a year to a guy that has a career filled with injuries and average performance. In his eight big league seasons Eovaldi is 44-53 with a 4.21 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. To compare, Oakland A’s starter Mike Fiers has played in nine seasons, going 62-58 with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Want to guess how much money Fiers made this same offseason in which the Sox paid Eovaldi? $14 million for TWO seasons.
I get that Eovaldi was nails in the postseason, but think with your head not your heart Boston Red Sox. Instead of paying Eovaldi you could’ve brought in a combination of relievers that would solve your issue. You could’ve even signed Fiers to fill your fifth spot while picking up a big name reliever like Adam Ottavino, but no. Boston would prefer to send their big money starter to relieve games rather than pay relievers in the first place.
Salary for active relief pitchers:
It’s almost like… never mind.
— Tucker Boynton (@Tucker_TnL) July 2, 2019
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)