It was clear that the Red Sox were going to be buyers at the Major League Baseball trade deadline, but the moves Boston made left many scratching their heads.
While a right-handed bat was an area of need, the acquisition of 35-year-old Steve Pearce didn’t come off as much of a gamechanger. And as the Red Sox’s bullpen continued to struggle in the dog days of summer, opting to deal for starter Nathan Eovaldi was a bit perplexing at the time.
Well, those moves look like two strokes of genius now.
Pearce, of course, claimed MVP honors in Boston’s World Series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, while Eovaldi arguably was the Sox’s most valuable pitcher throughout the team’s postseason run. Eovaldi’s ability to seamlessly transition from starter to reliever came as a great benefit to manager Alex Cora, and it’s something the ballclub envisioned when they dealt for the fireballer in July.
“Everybody was saying, ‘You need to do something about the bullpen. Why are you getting another starter?’” vice president of baseball operations Frank Wren told Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verdduci. “We made that trade specifically with October in mind and knowing that Eovaldi could be our Charlie Morton.”
Morton, like Eovaldi, had a broad role for the Astros in their championship run. After tossing 6 1/3 innings in Game 4 against the Dodgers, Morton logged the final four innings in Game 7 to help Houston clinch its first title in franchise history.
Although Eovaldi had a handful of shining moments in these playoffs, he etched his place in Red Sox history despite being tabbed with a loss. The righty threw the final six frames in Boston’s 18-inning loss to L.A., which served as a rallying cry for a team that easily could have lost its mojo following a defeat in that fashion.
Considering how things panned out, the Red Sox’s trade for Eovaldi now looks like thievery. But after a remarkable playoff stretch, Eovaldi likely will be on several teams’ radars when he hits free agency this winter.
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