BALTIMORE -- As the midnight hour neared Tuesday night and the division-rival Yankees acquired two-time All-Star reliever Zach Britton, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and his team were in on the sweepstakes. If they wanted to make the trade, they had the power to do so, Dombrowski said on Wednesday.
Instead, Dombrowski and his staff moved on and addressed another need for the first-place Red Sox by acquiring right-handed starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi from Tampa Bay in exchange for lefty Jalen Beeks -- Boston's No. 15 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Dombrowski said the Red Sox expressed interest in Eovaldi a couple of weeks ago in case the Rays decided to make him available. The Sox made an offer Tuesday afternoon and were given a response after midnight on Wednesday.
"He's a guy that fit for us. We thought it was appropriate to move quickly rather than to wait for uncertainties," Dombrowski said. "We figured let's go ahead and try to get the deal done."
With starters Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez on the shelf, as well as questions about Thomas Pomeranz after his shaky return from the disabled list on Tuesday, Dombrowski and his staff felt it was important to acquire another right-handed starter to go along with Rick Porcello.
"We feel very comfortable with him," manager Alex Cora said, highlighting Eovaldi's ability to attack high in the zone for an increasing whiff rate. "We feel he's going to be good for us."
In Eovaldi, the Red Sox acquire a pitcher who has a high-90's fastball and has several years of experience in the American League East, pitching for the Rays and Yankees. They also see flexibility: Dombrowski and Cora did not rule out using Eovaldi in the 'pen down the road should the need and opportunity arise. Eovaldi was used out of the bullpen as a rookie with the Dodgers in 2011 and with the Yankees in '16.
"We'll see where we are at," Cora said of using Eovaldi in a relief role. "We are a long ways, but, if necessary, I think he can do that. But he's been a good starter. ... We'll keep him there for now."
Barring additional injuries to the rotation, lefty Christopher Johnson will start once more against the Twins on Thursday before shifting to the bullpen. The Red Sox have not yet announced a corresponding move to add Eovaldi to the roster, but it is likely to involve a member of the bullpen.
Eovaldi will make his Red Sox debut against the Twins in Boston on Sunday.
The Rays signed Eovaldi, 28, in February 2017 to one-year deal for $2 million that included a club option for this year at the same base salary, plus incentives that can bring it up to $3.5 million.
Eovaldi, an 11th-round Draft pick of the Dodgers in 2008, missed '17 while recovering from Tommy John surgery and began this season on the disabled list. He made his '18 debut on May 30 against the Athletics and had a no-hitter going through six innings but was pulled due to pitch count. In 10 starts, Eovaldi is 3-4 with a 4.26 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, numbers that are inflated by a 2 2/3-inning, eight-run outing against Minnesota on July 13.
The Red Sox selected Beeks in the 12th round of the 2014 Draft. The 25-year-old holds a 2.89 ERA over 16 starts and 87 innings for Triple-A Pawtucket this year, along with a spot start and relief appearance for the Red Sox, going 0-1 with a 12.98 ERA in 6 1/3 innings.
Dombrowski 'content' but not ruling out more trades
"I can't say that we are done for sure," Dombrowski said. "We'll wait to see what happens. Our scouts are coming into town on Thursday-Friday. ... You also have to decide who are you going to take off your roster. You need to create spots, too. We are pretty happy with the roster that we have."
Dombrowski added that the club has not had trouble trying to find teams to trade with -- evident by talks with AL East rivals in the Orioles for Britton and Rays for Eovaldi -- which will be handy as the Red Sox look for, most likely, another bullpen arm.
"We've had a lot of conversations with a lot of clubs," Dombrowski said. "I really haven't felt it a challenge."
"There are teams that, three days ago, they were buyers and probably today now they are going to trade a few guys," Cora noted.