Red Sox Fans Will Appreciate Nathan Eovaldi’s Reason For Return

'I feel like we owe that to them'


September 27

Nathan Eovaldi is about to become a free agent, perhaps the final opportunity in his career to maximize his earning potential. Yet, the Red Sox pitcher insists on taking the ball a couple of more times in seemingly meaningless games.

Boston has been eliminated from playoff contention already, but Eovaldi believes he owes it to Red Sox fans to get back on the mound for what might be his final starts at Fenway Park. That’s despite shoulder inflammation that has kept him out more than a month — with a potentially massive payday waiting this winter.

“It means so much just to be able to finish the season healthy and be able to do so throwing in front of our fans,” Eovaldi told The Boston Globe. “I feel like we owe that to them.”

The season obviously hasn’t gone the way Eovaldi hoped. He has struggled with injuries and inconsistency. In many ways, his 2022 campaign has been a microcosm for the Red Sox in general.

“Given the struggles we had all season,” he added, “it’s important to show (the fans) that we’re going out there and not giving in.”

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The 32-year-old is expected to make a start against Baltimore next week and another against Tampa Bay before the season ends.

It’s a pretty cool gesture by Eovaldi and hopefully one that’s reciprocated by the Fenway crowd. If he’s healthy enough to make a couple more turns, then he probably isn’t in jeopardy of further hurting himself. But given his injury history and age, it’s no guarantee. It might not be the biggest risk he’s ever taken with his arm, but it’s certainly a risk.

If it is the end for Eovaldi, it’s a fitting way to go out in Boston. He’ll forever be lauded among Red Sox fans for a gutsy effort in the 2018 World Series, another time in which he put the team and its fans before his own personal health. And with the team’s decision to re-sign him following that World Series win, the righty largely has been a good investment.

While that contract might be up, a return to Boston shouldn’t be completely ruled out, despite a lack of extension talks. The lure of a return to his home state of Texas might be too tough to resist if the Astros or Rangers come calling, but the Red Sox could extend the $18 million qualifying offer to Eovaldi with the hopes of tempting him into one more season.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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