Starter-turned-possible closer Nathan Eovaldi will join the Red Sox for their upcoming series in Baltimore beginning on Friday, as per multiple reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). Eovaldi may not necessarily be activated from the 60-day injured list on Friday, since his final minor league rehab outing came today and the Sox could be hesitant about having Eovaldi pitch on consecutive days in the wake of elbow surgery in April.
Eovaldi tossed just 21 innings (of 6.00 ERA ball) before going under the knife this season, and rather than extend his rehab process by stretching him out in preparation to start, Boston will instead try to solve its season-long issues at the back of the bullpen by deploying Eovaldi as a closer. It’s a creative solution that has some real upside, though using Eovaldi as a reliever surely wasn’t on Boston’s mind when the club re-signed Eovaldi to a four-year/$68MM deal last winter.
How Eovaldi performs even in the short term will be of significant consequence to the Red Sox as they approach the trade deadline. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski suggested that the team’s recent acquisition of Andrew Cashner to address the back of the rotation (more or less filling the hole left by Eovaldi) could potentially be the sum total of Boston’s pre-deadline moves. It’s possible Dombrowski’s stance could change should Eovaldi get off to a rough beginning out of the bullpen, even if it’s adding one more lower-tier arm to further bolster the pen.