The Boston Red Sox added Nathan Eovaldi via prospect, Jalen Beeks. Will Beeks success be considered in a potential signing of Eovaldi?
The Red Sox were desperate for pitching with a spate of injuries that decimated their staff, but a solution was available south in Tampa. The Rays – despite playing .500 baseball – were going nowhere and were in the process of cleaning out their veteran closet in search of (1) prospects and (2) cheap contracts.
The Red Sox had a need and so did Tampa and Nathan Eovaldi was sent north and Jalen Beeks south. Beeks was deemed expendable and some of it undoubtedly could be linked to his rather disappointing introduction to the majors. In Beeks first start he was beaten like a rented government mule and quickly returned to Pawtucket (AAA). A second effort just about mirrored the first.
Beeks is a rather diminutive lefty by today’s pitching standards and his fastball provides no threat to reaching close to 100V even on a juiced radar gun. Exceptional speed is unnecessary with a good pitching toolbox as shown by Jamie Moyer and Mark Buehrle that both had a velocity that makes Beeks look like Sandy Koufax.
That said Beeks was simply one of the best in the International League. A remarkable 12.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 attest to that. And so far with Tampa, the results have been rather positive after a horrendous eight-run outing against the O’s Beeks has recovered. An especially stellar performance of four shutout innings against the Red Sox and a five-inning two-run outing against the Yankees show the potential.
Eovaldi is a competent middle of the rotation righty completing his second round of Tommy John surgery. After an exceptional 15 shutout inning start, Eovaldi has now pulled back into what his career numbers suggest – a good pitcher, but not a top of the rotation pitchers. Eovaldi gives some potential depth in both the rotation and the bullpen – a huge plus in today’s pitching desperate market.
Is the success of Beeks an impact on the Red Sox long-term decision-making with Eovaldi? The old ROI (Return On Investment) kicks in. If the Red Sox do yet another playoff flop do they attempt to re-sign free agent Eovaldi based on both his performance and to rescue something from the Beeks deal? That may be the land of the conspiracy theorist, but if Beeks magically starts to win and win the finger-pointing will commence.
If Eovaldi becomes an integral part of a Red Sox World Series victory then that position may be moot as Eovaldi will have established value and the Red Sox can indulge in the competition to sign Eovaldi. From my own exalted view, I can fully see kicking the tires on a potential Eovaldi contract. I have no illusions or is it delusions regarding Eovaldi? But if the price is within the budget and with Chris Sale and Rick Porcello facing free agency after 2019 it may be a worthy risk.