Red Sox

Nathan Eovaldi drawing early interest from nine teams

Nathan Eovaldi drawing early interest from nine teams

Two of the heroes from the Red Sox historic World Series run were set to become highly touted free agents at the start of the offseason. 

World Series MVP Steve Pearce quickly got back on board with a one-year , $6.25 million deal to return to the Red Sox.

Nathan Eovaldi, who inexplicably threw 97 extra innning pitches in the marathon that was Game 3 of the World Series, is expected to get a bigger contract. 

The 28-year-old right hander is reportedly drawing interest from as many as nine teams early on in the free agency process. The potential suitors are the Brewers, Phillies, White Sox, Braves, Angels, Blue Jays, Giants and Padres along with the Red Sox. 

Many of those teams can outbid Boston for Eovaldi, but he has stated a desire to stay with the Red Sox. 

Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly are also free agent pitchers the Red Sox have expressed interest in bringing back, so it should be interesting to see which dominos fall first.

If the Red Sox don't want to pay big money for Kimbrel, maybe they allocate their money in Eovaldi and Kelly. If Eovaldi or Kelly is lured away, will the Red Sox need to bring Kimbrel back to salvage their depth in the bullpen?

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Joe Kelly explains why he chose Dodgers over Red Sox in free agency

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USA TODAY Sports

Joe Kelly explains why he chose Dodgers over Red Sox in free agency

Joe Kelly confirmed what many expected: The Los Angeles Dodgers made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

The free agent pitcher recently agreed to a three-year, $25 million contract with the Dodgers, opting not to re-sign with the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

The rumor was that L.A. was willing to offer the veteran right-hander a three-year deal that Boston was not. Turns out that's exactly what happened.

Here's Kelly explaining to WEEI's Rob Bradford why he chose the Dodgers over the Red Sox:

"I don't know if there was one moment besides me saying, 'This is the team I want to play for. This is the team that gave me a three-year deal at $25 million,' " Kelly said on the "Bradfo Sho" podcast. 

"It wasn't like I saw the writing on the wall before that. So, I guess the moment where you hear the three-year deal and no other teams are at the three-year mark ... it was like, 'All right, well, I've been really, really involved with speaking with L.A. and understanding the philosophies and behind-the-scenes stuff for pitching.' 

"I was already intrigued, so I guess if you had to put a moment on it, it was that."

Kelly obviously had some strong ties to Boston after his stellar postseason performance helped the Red Sox defeat his new team in the 2018 World Series.

But the 30-year-old's ex-teammates understood him returning to his hometown team (Kelly grew up in Riverside County, Calif.) for a better paycheck and a significant role.

"Brock (Holt) and his wife FaceTimed me and my wife at like seven in the morning, and he was like, ‘Dang, you’re super, duper, duper rich!' " Kelly told Bradford. "And I just started laughing.

I’m obviously so close with those guys and everything was positive from those guys. They understand what’s the best for my family, career."

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Why Red Sox fans shouldn't be concerned about Boston's $12M luxury tax

Why Red Sox fans shouldn't be concerned about Boston's $12M luxury tax

We'd understand if you cringed at the news.

The Boston Red Sox owe nearly $12 million in luxury taxes after having the highest payroll in baseball last season? They're one of only two MLB teams to pay the tax? Does this mean they have to shed payroll in 2019 and trade away Rick Porcello, Xander Bogaerts or Jackie Bradley Jr.?

Not so fast. Here's a little context behind Boston's luxury tax that should make Sox fans feel better.

First: The Red Sox's $11.95 million bill actually is low by historic standards -- the lowest since 2003, per Forbes' Maury Brown.

Boston also is paying way less than notoriously big spenders like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, who have paid steep luxury taxes over the last five years without having to blow up their rosters. (The Yankees are the gray bars in the graphic below; the Dodgers are light blue.)

But perhaps most importantly, the Red Sox's luxury tax is a small fraction of the $239.5 million payroll they racked up in 2018 -- 4.99 percent, to be exact. And as The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham points out, Boston has spent more on less impactful investments.

We haven't stated the obvious yet, either: The Sox just won the 2018 World Series. Every team in the league would give up less than five percent of their payroll in an instant to win a championship.

Sure, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski may consider trimming his roster this offseason. And an additional penalty did drop the Boston's top pick in the 2019 MLB amateur draft by 10 spots, from 33 to 43.

But the Red Sox are world champions and one of the league's favorites to repeat in 2019. We'll take that trade-off any day.

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