Nathan Eovaldi’s 2018 postseason performance likely earned him a big payday this Major League Baseball offseason. But could it be to close out games rather than start?
Eovaldi, who was traded to the Boston Red Sox in July from the Tampa Bay Rays, made his mark quickly tossing 15 scoreless innings in his first two starts. The right-handed pitcher dominated in the postseason, including a Game 3 outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers that literally left his teammates in tears.
There are no shortage of suitors for the pitcher, and while starting has been the 28-year-old’s role, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford said, citing an MLB source, multiple teams have “expressed interest in signing Eovaldi with the intention of making him their closer.”
It certainly makes sense teams would want to lock him up as a closer after the postseason he compiled. But he also gave up just three runs in 13 innings as a starter en route to Boston’s World Series victory. If you ask Eovaldi, however, he wants to remain in the starter’s role.
“I’m going into this as if I’m a starter,” Eovaldi said on the “30 with Murti” podcast, as transcribed by Bradford. “I love starting, preparing for that one day. If I need to be a closer and that role opens up, I would also like to do that, too. I’ve never had an opportunity to close and didn’t have much relief work until the postseason this year. I enjoyed my time down there, as well. But I would like to stay in the starting rotation.”
There’s no telling where Eovaldi will end up come the 2019 season, but it’s not hard to see the right-hander’s sights are set on starting.