The Red Sox activated Nathan Eovaldi from the 60-day injured list today, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham (via Twitter). Optioning Ryan Weber to Triple-A will be the corresponding roster move. The team announced the moves as well.
Eovaldi will step into the closer’s role, as has been the plan coming out of Boston since the beginning of this month. Eovaldi certainly has the chops to cover the back-end innings for the BoSox, but the decision was surprising because of Eovaldi’s stated preference for the rotation. The injury history, his success out of the pen in last year’s World Series, and the middling production from the Red Sox pen (4.56 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 4.35 xFIP) add up to a fairly compelling case to support Boston’s decision, however.
Ryan Brasier leads the team in saves with seven, but his recent struggles landed him back in Pawtucket earlier this week. Freeing Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes from regular closing responsibilities will lengthen the bullpen and give manager Alex Cora weapons to deploy earlier in ballgames. Given the scarcity of natural sellers in this year’s trade market, the Red Sox already sidestepped the long line of teams angling for bullpen additions by finding an easier get for their rotation in the form of ex-Oriole Andrew Cashner. Rather than mortgaging the farm to outspend the many of pen-hungry buyers, the Red Sox are hoping Eovaldi can settle a relief core than has been the worst in the majors by ERA (6.88) over the last month.
As for Weber, he made two appearances in this most recent go-round with the major league club, struggling through 4 2/3 innings of work. For the season, he’s made three starts and five relief appearances for the Red Sox, amassing 24 innings and a 5.25 ERA (4.31 FIP). The 28-year-old righty returns to Pawtucket for the time being, where he owns a 5.16 ERA this season across 11 starts.