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Dombrowski prioritized Nathan Eovaldi over Zach Britton

Rob Bradford
July 25, 2018 - 7:03 pm

BALTIMORE -- Much was made late Tuesday regarding the Yankees acquisition of Zach Britton. For good reason. If healthy, the reliever is a true decision-maker, one that the Red Sox were calling on.

But according to Dave Dombrowski, Britton wasn't the priority. Nathan Eovaldi was.

"I don’t mean to downplay (Britton) because he’s a very good pitcher, but for us, we think the fit was better to get someone like this," Dombrowski said.

Considering the perception that relief pitching was tops on the Red Sox trade deadline wish-list, the statement was somewhat surprising. Perhaps it was simply due to the fact the Red Sox actually got Eovaldi, or maybe it was due to the notion that they really wanted more starting pitching certainty until Eduardo Rodriguez returned.

"We put our name in on him a couple of weeks ago," Dombrowski said. "Stayed in contact just to let them know if they ever got to that point that we would be interested. Touched base a little bit in the meantime. Touched base with him a couple of days ago and they got back to me with some names. Yesterday it really started moving along quickly. So really it came together very quickly yesterday. Really during the day. We didn’t consummate it finally … We were waiting for a phone call. We had proposed a deal in the middle of the afternoon and they got back to me last night. It was after midnight, I was back at the hotel, that it was finally agreed upon. We just had to check medicals."

The Red Sox' president of baseball operations added, "If we were going to add somebody … You can’t always get what you prefer because sometimes their not available, but we did think a right-hander would be better. We’re predominantly left-handed in the rotation. It gives us a second right-hander to go with (Rick) Porcello. We will see what happens with Steven Wright down the road but at least it gives us two guys for now from the right-hand side. So, yes, (getting a right-hander) made a difference."

While the bullpen is still a bit uncertain due to Joe Kelly's downturn, making a Britton-like acquisition not out of the realm of possibility, Dombrowski insisted he would be OK if his group of relievers remained status quo.

"I do," he said when asked if he liked where the Red Sox' bullpen was at. "But again it’s not that you can’t get stronger. You can always get stronger at this point in the year. This is the only time until the 31st where you can do that knowing what you’re going to do. Yeah, I’m content with what we have."

Eovaldi is slated to make his Red Sox debut Sunday against the Twins at Fenway Park, with his second outing coming against the Yankees.