BOSTON -- Two days after Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said of Nathan Eovaldi, "He's a guy that we'd love to keep," indications are surfacing that the flame-throwing righty is close to returning to the World Series champions.An executive from a club believed to be in on
BOSTON -- Two days after Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said of Nathan Eovaldi, "He's a guy that we'd love to keep," indications are surfacing that the flame-throwing righty is close to returning to the World Series champions.
An executive from a club believed to be in on Eovaldi told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand that he has heard Boston is closing in on a deal, adding that, in his eyes, "the market is really just the Red Sox at this point."
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Robert Murray of the Athletic added that negotiations between the Red Sox and their 28-year-old postseason hero are "intensifying." MLB Network insider Jon Heyman is hearing that a four-year deal worth around $17 million annually is being discussed.
If the Red Sox can re-sign the 28-year-old Eovaldi, it would be the completion of one of their top goals for this offseason. Eovaldi would round out a potentially dominant rotation that also includes Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez.
That would mean the champions would have their entire rotation and all of their key position players back for a club that is aiming to be MLB's first repeat champion since the Yankees in 2000.
And by securing Eovaldi, Dombrowski would be able to put most of his focus at next week's Winter Meetings on fortifying a bullpen that could lose closer Craig Kimbrel and key setup man Joe Kelly to free agency.
Another perk of keeping Eovaldi for the Red Sox would be keeping him away from the club's top competitors.
The Yankees are one of several other teams who have inquired about Eovaldi's services. So, too, are the Houston Astros, the team Boston took out in five games in last year's American League Championship Series.
Dombrowski acquired Eovaldi from the Rays back on July 25 for lefty Jalen Beeks.
Eovaldi first endeared himself to Red Sox fans by being a Yankee killer, going 2-0 with a 0.39 ERA in four starts against New York after the trade, including his win in Game 3 of the AL Division Series.
He also made a big impact in the ALCS, winning Game 3 against the Astros with a solid, six-inning start and then getting four big outs out of the bullpen in clinching Game 5.
But it was in the World Series that Eovaldi took it to another level. He fired a perfect eighth inning in Games 1 and 2 at Fenway Park to preserve victories over the Dodgers. And in the 18-inning epic that was Game 3 at Dodger Stadium, Eovaldi, who was supposed to start Game 4, came out of the bullpen to deliver six innings and was viewed as a hero for the Sox even though he gave up the walk-off homer to Player Page for Max Muncy.
"He's a game-changer," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Eovaldi earlier this week. "We know the stuff he has. Actually, he went through the process of mixing up his pitches, attacking guys in different spots. There are a lot of teams [after] him, but hopefully, it happens and he's part of this."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.