Now that the first half of the Red Sox season is in the books, let’s take a stab at some predictions.
Nathan Eovaldi will save less than 10 games
As Red Sox fans know, the first half of the season included a laundry list of relievers with save opportunities. Marcus Walden, Ryan Brasier, Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman, and Matt Barnes are all names that have had a shot at locking down the ninth inning; however they’ve all failed to establish a traditional closing role. In a surprising move, Alex Cora and Dave Dombrowski announced that Nathan Eovaldi would move to the traditional closer’s role upon his return.
While Eovaldi will be a trending name upon fantasy baseball platforms, he won’t be the traditional closer by the end of the season. Despite his World Series heroics, the hard throwing righty has no sustained track record of success as a reliever. Additionally, it will be interesting to see how his arm handles being asked to pitch on multiple consecutive days, or if that’s a possibility whatsoever. In order for this prediction to be fulfilled, it’s reliant on Dombrowski acquiring a proven reliever / closer.
Financial matters may affect the long term status of Eovaldi as a ninth inning man. As of now, the Red Sox starter is set to earn $17 million over the next 4 seasons which would leave him a couple of million dollars short of Aroldis Chapman‘s contract. In a sense, Nathan Eovaldi will be earning elite closer money as an unproven commodity in that role. If it ends up being a long term solution, the Red Sox would have saved themselves money by adding Craig Kimbrel with a $6 million discount this season and $1 million through the remainder of his deal.
It’s a solid idea, and the best solution for the current composition of the club, but it won’t be the case by the end of the season.
Multiple Word Series Members Won’t Make Postseason Roster
Of course, this is prefaced by the fact that the Red Sox will make the postseason; however it shouldn’t be considered a “hot take.” On the other hand, it would not come as a surprise to see October roll around and find Eduardo Nunez and Steve Pearce absent from the roster.
It has been a disastrous season for both mentioned parties, as Nunez had a chance to cement himself as the starting second baseman with the injury to Dustin Pedroia. While a .233 average may not seem terrible, his role on the club as a platoon member / pinch hitter dictates the struggles that he’s had this season. He’s posted a -WAR this season and has settled in as a pinch hitter, but the hot hitting (and finally healthy) Marco Hernandez may leave him on the outside of the team’s future plans.
Meanwhile, Steve Pearce has struggled since his injury in Spring Training. In a necessity, he was rushed to the active roster and was unable to find any form of rhythm at the plate. A .180 batting average combined with a mere one homerun and 9 RBI’s tell the story of just that. Throughout his rehab assignment, Pearce was re-injured and doesn’t have a clear timetable for his return.
Michael Chavis burst onto the scene early this season and has captured the every day first baseman role. Mitch Moreland is set to return from his injury in the near future, which would likely leave Pearce on the roster bubble. He earned every cent of his contract in the 2019 season; however nothing is guaranteed in baseball – and neither is his roster spot on the Boston Red Sox.
Red Sox Will Trade Top Prospect in Bigger Deal
Whether, or not, you’ve criticized Dave Dombrowski for his offseason moves, it’s important to remember his track record as one of the most aggressive GM’s in all of baseball. Throughout his tenure in Boston, he’s traded blue chip prospects such as Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Logan Allen, Manuel Margot, Anderson Espinoza, and Mauricio Dubon. At this point, it appears that Dombrowski’s aggressive nature may yield a bigger splash than last season.
The Red Sox are in a battle for the Wild Card, with the AL East crown a solid 9 games out of reach. At this point, an aggressive play will be made which may yield a trade of one of the hottest Sox prospects in Bobby Dalbec. While many fans seem hesitant to part ways with the power hitting prospect, Dalbec’s primary positions of 1B / 3B are currently occupied in both the short and long term, leaving a possible trade as a rational scenario.
Jarren Duran, Bryan Mata, and Triston Casas are other names that may be in play, but each may be nearing “untouchable” status. In today’s game of homeruns, high K rate’s, and launch angle, Bobby Dalbec may be an increasingly attractive option – even if that doesn’t leave him in Boston.