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Red Sox bring back Nathan Eovaldi pending physical. What does that mean for the American League East?

MLB: ALCS-Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox are trying to keep the band together. The starting pitching staff that earned the Red Sox their fourth World Series title since 2004 is now closer to remaining complete.

Eovaldi pitched in the majors for the first time since August of 2016 this past season. The 28-year-old righty has been well-traveled in his career, being selected in the 11th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Dodgers, traded to the Marlins in the Hanley Ramirez deal, then traded to the Yankees in the Martin Prado deal, then released by the Yankees before signing on with the Tampa Bay Rays who traded him to the Red Sox at the 2018 MLB Trade Deadline for Jalen Beeks.

Got all that?

Eovaldi was known for one of the fastest fastballs in baseball, but was plagued by being very hittable and high home run rates before losing a season-and-a-half to injury. He pitched well for both the Rays and Sox in his return to the bigs, going 6-7 with a 3.81 ERA and 1.126 WHIP, striking out 101 with just 20 walks in 111 innings.

It’s a pretty big signing financially for a pitcher that has been somewhat of a wild card throughout his career. For every outing that looks like he’s amongst the elite, there has seemed to be a stinker or two along the way. So, why is this an important signing for the Red Sox?

For one, they don’t have much in elite pitching prospects ready for action on the pipeline. With the likelihood of closer Craig Kimbrel landing elsewhere and a questionable bullpen that seemed to finally come alive in October, keeping those veteran starters in place was key to a title defense. Secondly, it is no secret that the Yankees were looking at Eovaldi, especially after Patrick Corbin decided to sign with the Washington Nationals earlier this week. With Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Ridriguez, and Nathan Eovaldi in the rotation, you will be hard-pressed to find many more veteran staffs anywhere else.

Furthermore, Eovaldi likely earned this contract for how he pitched on the biggest stage this past October. He made six appearances, two of which were starts. Eovaldi allowed just four runs over 22.1 innings, striking out 16 and walking just three. His best postseason start was a seven-inning, one-run victory over the Yankees in which he struck out five and walked none.

Early reports are that it is a four-year deal, giving the Red Sox Eovaldi through his age-32 season. Should he continue to get back to form this season, he could be prove to be worth it by the time his contract is up.