by Matt Rooney
Back in June, Jared Carrabis tweeted, “If the Red Sox win the World Series this year, I will snort a grasshopper.” Jared, it’s time to get snorting.
All in all, the 2018 Red Sox are going to go down as one of the best teams in baseball history. Some key members who were vital in winning the World Series are upcoming free agents this offseason – Nathan Eovaldi, Steve Pearce, Joe Kelly, Craig Kimbrel (and others not so vital – Ian Kinsler, Drew Pomeranz – are free agents as well). Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox face tough decisions on who to resign and who to let walk…
Nathan Eovaldi has the highest ceiling out of any arm on the market this offseason. Combine that with the fact he had a heroic postseason, and the tantalizing fireballer will have many offers lined up. This past postseason, Eovaldi had a 1.61 ERA in six appearances, allowing four earned runs over 22 1/3 innings while striking out 16. He did all this while walking just three and holding opponents to a .185 batting average. There were two impressive starts where he mowed down two elite lineups in the Yankees and the Astros, and dominant, pressure filled relief innings. He’s just 28 years old and is extremely versatile – he could be a top of the rotation starter or a closer for years to come. Don’t be surprised if Red Sox rivals – NYY and HOU – will enter the bidding war for Eovaldi, but I don’t think Dombrowski would let him walk to either of those teams. Also, Every Red Sox fan wants Nathan Eovaldi back in Boston next season. Expect the Beantown legend to break the bank… and resign with the Boston Red Sox.
Prediction: Signs 4 year 64 million with the Red Sox
Joe Kelly, aka Jim Buchanon, wants to be a starter. It’s plain and simple. He has the stuff to do so, but his command is and always will be a massive question mark. In his four years with the Red Sox, he has been a league average reliever and has been extremely inconsistent. Oh, and Kelly destroyed Yankees DH Tyler Austin when he charged the mound. Regardless, his huge postseason and his blazing fastball (98.1 average) might be enough to net him a solid deal. The Red Sox would be smart to see if he takes a discount to resign, but if not, they should let him walk.
Prediction: Signs 2 year 21 million with the Pirates
This season, Steve Pearce posted an .890 OPS — the World Series MVP will be well sought after on the free agent market. For next season, a Mitch Moreland – Steve Pearce platoon at first base sounds pretty nice, and the Red Sox would love to have him back after his incredible postseason heroics. I’d be shocked if the Red Sox let him get away.
Prediction: Signs 2 year 17 million with the Red Sox
Craig Kimbrel is an All Star closer. No matter how bad his postseason was – 19 men reached base over 10⅔ innings (9 of them scored) with only 10 strikeouts – he is going to get paid. Depending on his price, I think the Red Sox will be interested in bringing him back, especially with their bullpen not being the strength of their team. There’s a chance he signs NL teams such as STL or ATL, but I think Boston gets it done.
Prediction: Signs 4 year 66 million with the Red Sox
Kinsler was a solid fill-in this year (besides his Game 3 blunder), but with Pedroia returning next year along with Nunez picking up his option, Ian most certainly will not be back. Turning 37 next June, his career is on the decline.
Prediction: Signs 1 year 3 million with the Twins
Drew Pomeranz was easily the most hated player on the 2018 Boston Red Sox. And rightfully so. He had a 6.08 ERA, and it felt even worse. Two years ago, Drew Pomeranz was an All Star, and teams would be wise to offer him a one year – prove it contract to see if he can regain some of his ’15 and ’16 magic. If I am the Red Sox, I say no thanks.
Prediction: Signs 1 year 8 million with the Brewers