USA Today Sports

Red Sox may have beaten out Astros for Eovaldi

Rob Bradford
July 26, 2018 - 8:57 pm

The Red Sox moved quickly late Tuesday night for good reason. At least two other teams were hot on the trail of Nathan Eovaldi.

According to a major league source, both the Dodgers, Braves and Astros were showing strong interest in the righty up until the moment he was dealt to Boston. For Los Angeles, the fit was easily identified, with Dave Roberts' team carrying concern over the health of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda and Hyu-Jin Ryu, while potentially needing help in the bullpen. Atlanta also needs starting help.

Houston? That was another matter.

The Astros' rotation is set with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton making up the majors' most formidable starting staff. The thinking, presumably, would be to use Eovaldi as a reliever, with Houston's bullpen still sitting on somewhat shaky ground. With closer Ken Giles in the minors, and Hector Rondon serving as the closer, the group has been thinned out.

The Red Sox have not ruled out using Eovaldi out of the bullpen somewhere down the line, with the 28-year-old having last lived the life of a reliever in 2016 when filling the role for three games with the Yankees.

Houston did manage to pull off a potential effective move Thursday, trading for catcher Martin Maldonado from the Angels. Maldonado is viewed as an above-average defensive backstop, a skill the Astros may need to prioritize going up against the Indians and Red Sox. Cleveland and Boston are two of the top three clubs in total stolen bases and stolen-base percentage.