Harper, Machado, and more: Reassessing the 2018-19 MLB free agents

Sep 22, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) waits in the outfield before the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 22, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) waits in the outfield before the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
5 of 11
Next
Natahn Eovaldi. Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Natahn Eovaldi. Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Examining the contract: Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Red Sox, four years, $67.5 million

Eovaldi was a hero of Boston’s 2018 World Series run, making his winter resigning almost a mandatory occasion.

But signing pitchers to extended deals is always problematic, and that has certainly been the case with Eovaldi. Elbow problems limited him to just four starts in 2019, and COVID limited him (and everybody else) in 2020.

In combination, that means the Red Sox have received fewer than 17 victories and 300 innings of labor in exchange for the roughly $50 million they’ve paid Eovaldi to date.

His 2021 season did amount to a return to expected form. He was 11-9 with a 3.75 ERA in a solid 32 starts, and was a major reason why the Red Sox qualified as a wild card team.

He started and won the Wild Card game against New York, but got shelled by Houston in both games two and six as the Red Sox lost the ALCS to the Astros.

Entering 2022, Eovaldi appears to be healthy, which means he’ll probably be his team’s No. 1 or No. 2 starter – depending on Chris Sale’s health – starting the season.

Eovaldi will be a free agent at season’s end. That means he and the Red Sox need to win – as in the World Series – in order to make his deal a clear positive for the team at day’s end.

That in turn means not only a solid regular season, but a better postseason than Eovaldi delivered in 2021.