Rays receive 25 year old LHP Beeks for Eovaldi
Another of the Rays’ trade dominoes fell on Wednesday morning when Nathan Eovaldi was dealt to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for lefty pitcher Jalen Beeks. Eovaldi had been slated to start on Wednesday afternoon against the New York Yankees.
“I knew I was on the trading block,” said Eovaldi, who posted a 4.26 ERA in ten starts for Tampa Bay this season, but looked sharper than that number or his 3-4 record would imply. He posted a 6.63 strikeout to walk ratio and kept walks to a minimum, while posting a WHIP under 1. He is just the twelfth pitcher in Major League history to come back to the majors after having Tommy John Surgery twice. Overall in his career, Eovaldi is 41-50 with a 4.22 ERA. His contract ends after the 2018 season, making him a free agent this winter.
Boston had been looking for back of the rotation help, and they paid a steep price to get Eovaldi. Jalen Beeks came into 2018 as the Red Sox’ minor league pitcher of the year the previous season, and he picked up where he left off as a member of the Pawtucket Red Sox. He was among the International League leaders in several categories with the “Paw Sox,” including strikeouts and WHIP, where he was in second place.
Beeks projects as a starting pitcher and has been one his entire minor league career. In 2018, he is likely to be used in the experimental new roles of Kevin Cash’s pitching staff. Beeks is ideal for these purposes. He could serve as an Opener if need be, or perhaps the pitcher that follows the opener to get 15-18 outs a’la Ryan Yarbrough. Beeks does not throw particularly hard, with a fastball topping out in the low 90s, and as a result scouts wonder if he really has “swing and miss stuff.”
Tampa Bay is now left with two starting pitchers on the active roster, Chris Archer and Yonny Chirinos. Blake Snell will soon rejoin them to form a three man and two opener rotation. That means the opener is not just here to stay, it’s a mainstay of the Rays in 2018. Versatile, young pitchers like Beeks will be ideal in a staff like that.
Eovaldi will slot himself into the back end of a Red Sox rotation that has struggled. Think of him as Drew Pomeranz Insurance. If Pomeranz can’t turn around his unfortunate 2018 and get back to his performance from last year where he was a pleasant surprise in Boston, the Red Sox can use Eovaldi in his stead. Since Pomeranz has an ERA over 6 at the moment, expect Eovaldi to get some starts in Fenway Park before long.
For the Rays this is a move with both the short and long terms in mind. Beeks will be with the organization for the next six seasons. Eovaldi would have been a free agent after this season.
This is the first deal the Red Sox have made a deal with the Rays since July of 1999, when Tampa Bay sent Boston Julio Santana for a player to be named later.