MLB rumors: Nathan Eovaldi, Red Sox intensifying talks to keep flamethrower in Boston

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We knew Nathan Eovaldi made himself an even richer man with his 2018 season. Now we’re getting closer to learning exactly how much richer. Talks between Eovaldi’s camp and the Boston Red Sox are reportedly “intensifying,” per Robert Murray of The Athletic — to the point where Jon Heyman, of FanCred Sports, noted on Twitter that he’s heard Eovaldi could land a four-year deal worth upward of $68 million.

Around this time last year, Eovaldi was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He went on to throw 111 innings split between the Tampa Bay Rays and Red Sox, compiling a 3.81 ERA (112 ERA+) and 5.05 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Eovaldi has always been blessed with a live arm, but his mastery of a cutter helped him take the next step from underachiever to quality starter.

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Even if one accepts that Eovaldi will retain his new levels of performance, there’s reason to be concerned about his durability. He’s topped the 170-inning mark at the big-league level just once, and that came back in 2014. Teams are demanding less from their starters than they did in the past, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want their pitchers getting hurt.

Eovaldi, then, is arguably the biggest boom-or-bust type at the top of the market. Should the deal get done, the Red Sox are certainly hoping for the former. 

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