Red Sox Rumors: Nathan Eovaldi Hasn't Had Contract Talks amid Devers, Bogaerts Buzz

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 14, 2022

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 8: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the first inning of the 2022 Major League Baseball Opening Day game against the New York Yankees on April 8, 2022 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox "haven't engaged in any contract conversations" with starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, according to WEEI's Rob Bradford.

Bradford added that the right-hander prefers not to negotiate a new deal during the 2022 MLB season. However, "there is an expectation" his representatives could discuss terms with the Red Sox once the season ends. 

Next winter is shaping up to be a pivotal period in Boston. Eovaldi and J.D. Martinez are due to hit free agency, while Xander Bogaerts can opt out of the $80 million he's owed over the next four seasons. Meanwhile, Rafael Devers can hit free agency after the 2023 season.

According to the New York Post's Jon Heyman, the gap between what the Red Sox were offering Devers and Bogaerts and what the players wanted might have been $100 million or more.

While he's unlikely to command ace-level money, Eovaldi will figure to have a lot of suitors should he reach the open market.

The 32-year-old finished fourth in the American League Cy Young voting in 2021 after going 11-9 with a 3.75 ERA and an AL-leading 2.79 FIP in 32 appearances. He hasn't gotten off to a great start in 2022 (allowing four home runs and five earned runs over 10 innings), but it's still very early. 

The state of the Red Sox's starting rotation heightens the need to retain Eovaldi beyond 2022.

Behind him, Boston is leaning on Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, Tanner Houck and Nick Pivetta as its starters. Chris Sale is on the 60-day injured list, and James Paxton is still recovering from his Tommy John surgery.

What the Red Sox decide to do with Eovaldi won't make or break their championship hopes in 2023, but it will clearly signal their short-term goals for next year.