After the Yankees made a trade with an AL East rival to bolster their pitching staff for the stretch run on Tuesday night, the Red Sox responded — albeit in a smaller way — by doing the same early Wednesday morning, acquiring right-hander Nathan Eovaldi from the Rays in exchange for lefty Jalen Beeks. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin reported the news first:
Eovaldi, 28, has been an inspiring story this season, as he came back from a nearly-two-year absence due to Tommy John surgery on May 30 and had become one of the anchors of the Rays’ rotation. While his ERA doesn’t look great — a 4.26 over 57 innings — that’s largely thanks to a disaster start on July 13 during which he allowed eight runs over 2.2 innings. With that start being the exception, he’s gone at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs in four of his last five outings. He also has a shiny 0.98 WHIP with just 53 strikeouts and eight walks this season.
Eovaldi, who is making just $2 million this season after the Rays bought low on him before the 2017 season, is a free agent this winter. For now, though, he’ll likely slot into a rotation that is currently without Eduardo Rodriguez and Stephen Wright, has gotten disastrous results from Drew Pomeranz, and currently includes Brian Johnson, who has been great as a starter but is also supposed to be the team’s best lefty reliever. While Eovaldi provides solid back-of-the-rotation depth through the end of the regular season, his powerful fastball — which has averaged 96.8 mph according to Statcast — could make him an imposing weapon out of the bullpen during the postseason.
Beeks, 25, was ranked as Boston’s No. 15 prospect by MLB Pipeline and can likely help the Rays’ starter-starved big-league club immediately. Through 16 starts at Triple-A Pawtucket this season, he’s posted a dominant 2.89 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 117 strikeouts and 25 walks over 87.1 innings. He was named an International League All-Star, though he did not pitch in the Triple-A All-Star Game. He’s also had a pair of big-league stints this season, and, well, the success hasn’t carried over; in two appearances — one as a starter, one as a reliever — he’s allowed a total of nine earned runs on 11 hits and four walks over 6.1 innings.