Boston — Nathan Eovaldi’s marathon relief performance in Game 3 of the World Series is a moment that will resonate in Red Sox history.
Boston rewarded him with a $68-million, four-year contract.
“We’re very happy to have Nathan back with us,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a statement as the deal was announced Thursday. “He did a tremendous job for us last season, playing a significant role in helping us win the division and the World Series. His performance in the postseason was outstanding, both as a starting pitcher and as a reliever.”
A 28-year-old right-hander who has had a pair of Tommy John surgeries, Eovaldi was acquired by Boston from Tampa Bay on July 25. He went 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA down the stretch. He made four starts against the Yankees, going 2-0 with a 0.39 ERA, and beat the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, when he gave up one run in seven innings.
In six postseason appearances, including two starts, Eovaldi went 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA, a .185 opponent’s batting average, 16 strikeouts, and three walks
Eovaldi pitched one inning of relief in each of the first two games of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He entered Game 3 in the 12th inning and threw 97 pitches over six-plus innings, preventing the bullpen from enduring additional stress.
Boston lost the game when Eovaldi surrendered an 18th-inning home run to Max Muncy, but his performance inspired his teammates. Manager Alex Cora credited Eovaldi’s effort with being one of the catalysts that helped Boston win its fourth World Series title in 15 years.
At the premiere of the Red Sox’s 2018 season highlight video, Eovaldi got the biggest cheers when his name was mentioned, with the crowd chanting “Bring him back!”
“Nobody’s going to remember who won that game. Everybody’s going to remember Nate Eovaldi,” Cora said.
Eovaldi is part of a projected starting rotation that includes Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez.
Eovaldi had Tommy John surgery in 2007 when he was a junior in high school and his second in August 2016 while with the Yankees. He was let go by New York after the season and signed with Tampa Bay, a deal that guaranteed $2 million in 2017 and included a $2 million option for 2018. He had arthroscopic surgery late in spring training to remove loose bodies in his pitching elbow and did not make his season debut until May 30 – his first major league game since Aug. 10, 2016.
Boston earlier reached a $6.25 million, one-year contract with first baseman Steve Pearce, the World Series MVP. Remaining unsigned players who became free agents after winning the Series include closer Craig Kimbrel, left-hander Drew Pomeranz, right-hander Joe Kelly and second basemen Brandon Phillips and Ian Kinsler.
Schoop signs with Twins
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop and the Twins agreed to a $7.5-million, one-year contract on Thursday, another step in an offseason remake of Minnesota’s infield.
Schoop’s deal would allow him to earn a $100,000 performance bonus for reaching 600 plate appearances, plus additional award bonuses. He was an All-Star with Baltimore in 2017 when he hit .293 with 32 home runs with 105 RBIs, all career highs.
He was traded to Milwaukee last summer right before the non-waiver deadline and became a free agent last week, when the Brewers declined to offer him a 2019 contract rather than allow him to be eligible for salary arbitration.
Schoop made $8.5 million in 2018.
The 27-year-old native of the Caribbean island of Curacao made his major league debut with the Orioles in 2013 and spent five seasons as their regular second baseman, until their salary dump triggered the deal that sent him to the Brewers for second baseman Jonathan Villar and two minor league prospects.
Though the Brewers came within one win of reaching the World Series, Schoop went 0 for 8 in the postseason after batting just .202 with four home runs and 21 RBIs in 46 games for Milwaukee after the trade.
Indians, Carrasco agree on extension
Carlos Carrasco’s career has taken some dramatic turns, re-routed by elbow surgery, a therapeutic trip to the bullpen and several freakish injuries. He persevered, blossoming into a special pitcher — and person — for the Cleveland Indians.
They’re going to keep him around.
The three-time AL Central champions and Carrasco agreed Thursday to a $47 million, four-year contract, a deal that includes $37.25 million in new guaranteed money and could keep him in a Cleveland uniform through the 2023 season.
Carrasco, who has won 35 games over the past two seasons, will make $9.75 million next season, the same as his prior deal, and $10.25 million in 2020 — the same amount as the club’s previous option for that season.
The Indians added on two more seasons at $12 million each, and Cleveland holds a 2023 option for $14 million with a $3 million buyout.
“As we looked at the continuity of our rotation, we feel Carlos can continue to be a key cog in that,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “When we had the opportunity to discuss with him the opportunity to extend his term here, it was something we thought would make a lot of sense for us. And we’re really happy we were able to do that, because it does help in our planning efforts moving forward.
Around the horn
Cubs closer Brandon Morrow likely will miss the start of the season following arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow last month.
President of baseball operations Theo Epstein says the operation took place Nov. 6.
Signed to a $21-million, two-year contract last December, Morrow led the Cubs with 22 saves and had a 1.47 ERA in 35 games. He did not pitch after July 15 because of a bone bruise in his right elbow.
Epstein says Morrow still felt discomfort, leading to the decision for surgery. Morrow is expected to start throwing in early February.
... The Phillies acquired left-handed pitcher Jose Alvarez from the Angels for right-hander Luis Garcia.
Alvarez was 6-4 with a 2.71 ERA and one save in 76 appearances in 2018, striking out 59 in 63 innings. He allowed only three home runs to the 261 batters he faced while holding left-handed hitters to a .206 batting average and righties to a .232 mark.
The 29-year-old Alvarez is 12-18 with a 3.69 ERA over six seasons with the Tigers and Angels.
... The Braves hired pitching coach Rick Kranitz, who served in the same role for NL East rival Philadelphia last season.
Kranitz, 60, replaces former Tigers pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, who was not retained following Atlanta’s playoff loss to the Dodgers.