The Boston Red Sox have struggled to find a reliable closer following the free-agent loss of Craig Kimbrel. Now they’re reportedly set to turn to a converted starter who showed his potential as a high-leverage reliever during last year’s playoff run. According to NESN’s Tom Caron, right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will take over as the team’s closer once he returns from the injured list.
Eovaldi underwent surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow after making just four starts this season. He has been sidelined since, but right now he’s likely to return to the active roster at some point after the All-Star break. He doesn’t yet have a more precise timetable.
Eovaldi, 29, thrived in Boston after being acquired from the Rays in late July of last season. In the playoffs, Eovaldi pitched to a 1.61 ERA and 5.33 K/BB ratio in two starts and four relief appearances. For his career, Eovaldi owns an of 96 and a K/BB ratio of 2.43 across parts of eight big-league seasons. Eovaldi’s elite fastball velocity and hard slider figure to translate well to a bullpen role.
As for Eovaldi’s precise usage within the closer role, Caron’s story has more on that.