Nathan Eovaldi, Red Sox reach an agreement

Boston reached a deal for one of its most important free agents Thursday.

Nathan Eovaldi reacts as he heads for the dugout at Fenway Park on Sunday.
Nathan Eovaldi reacts as he heads for the dugout at Fenway Park on Sunday. –Jim Rogash / Getty Images

Nathan Eovaldi, whose determination helped inspire a World Series championship, is staying with the Red Sox. The free-agent righthander is in agreement with the team on a new contract pending a physical, two major league sources told The Boston Globe on Thursday.

The deal is for four years and $67.5 million according to MLB Network.

The Red Sox saw retaining the 28-year-old Eovaldi as the centerpiece of their offseason strategy. He rejoins Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez to form what again should be a strong rotation.

Eovaldi was 3-3 with a 3.33 earned run average in 12 games after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays July 25. He then appeared in six postseason games and allowed only four earned runs over 22 innings.

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Eovaldi won the pivotal third game of the Division Series against the Yankees, giving up one run over seven innings in New York. He then started Game 3 of the American League Championship Series and beat the Houston Astros.

From there, he became a reliever as manager Alex Cora aggressively used several starters out of the bullpen to secure games.

Eovaldi got four outs to help clinch the ALCS in Game 5. He then pitched two perfect eighth innings in Games 1 and 2 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In Game 3, Eovaldi went a remarkable six innings out of the bullpen, throwing 97 pitches. He took the loss when Max Muncy homered leading off the bottom of the 18th inning for the Dodgers.

But the effort became an emotional rallying point for the Sox, who won Games 4 and 5 to clinch the Series.

Cora called a team meeting after Game 3 to praise Eovaldi and assure the Sox they would recover.

“That was the moment,” Cora said earlier this month. “For him to go out there and pitch the way he did, it was unreal. That was such a performance.”

Eovaldi is 44-53 with a 4.16 ERA over seven seasons in the majors with the Dodgers, Marlins, Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox.

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For the Sox, the 2019 season will be a reunion tour. World Series MVP Steve Pearce re-signed in November and now Eovaldi is back.

Closer Craig Kimbrel and setup man Joe Kelly remain free agents but appear less likely to return.

Kimbrel, 30, is seeking a long-term commitment of as many as six seasons while Kelly is being marketed as a starter or closer.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has said the Sox are likely to fill their bullpen needs via free agency. David Robertson, Zach Britton, Andrew Miller, Jeurys Familia, and Adam Ottavino are among the relievers available.

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