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Red Sox offseason strategy coming into focus

Rob Bradford
December 04, 2018 - 8:05 am

Try to lock up Nathan Eovaldi and then wait.

With the Major League Baseball winter meetings less than a week away, it would seem the Red Sox' strategy when it comes to firming up their roster is fairly cut-and-dried. It is, after all, early December. Somebody besides the Mariners would seem to be ready to do something.

In the Red Sox' case, the first priority would seem to be to define where Eovaldi is going. Speaking at the release of the team's documentary on the 2018 World Series-winning team Dave Dombrowski reiterated the Sox' interest in bringing back the free agent pitcher.

"He’s a guy who we would love to keep," said Dombrowski of Eovaldi. "We’ve talked about that. But he has a lot of choices. I don’t think we’re in a position that we have to keep anybody in particular. You would like to keep people by all means because you would like to keep as many of our guys together. But I also think any situation you go into you have to look at all parts of it. Like any wintertime you have an order of ranking players you have in your mind and you respond based on what happens."

When it comes to Eovaldi the Red Sox aren't going to be allowed to sit back and hope he comes to them. There is too much interest in a pitcher who not only proved his worth on baseball's biggest stage, but hits the open market as the youngest free agent starter available. The Astros are known to have targeted the Texas native, with the Padres recently being linked to Eovaldi.

"We have expressed interest in bringing Nate back," Dombrowski said. "We’ve talked to him and so have a lot of other people talked to him. We know there is a lot of interest in him. It’s a tribute to our players. In a lot of cases, they are in a position where a lot of clubs have interest in them, which is their right as free agents. And they’ve earned that. I tip my cap to them."

The other position on the Red Sox to-do list is finding a late-inning reliever.

According to industry sources, the feeling is the Sox' are waiting to see what happens with Craig Kimbrel before making any strong moves toward acquiring his replacement. There is a sense that Dombrowski is content in sitting back and waiting to see who emerges from a very crowded field of free agent closers, a notion that was only pushed along by the executive's words Monday night.

"There are a lot of relievers out there," he said. "Bullpen options, there’s a lot of them in free agency. I don’t know what the demand is going to be as far as clubs are concerned but there are a lot of guys out there. I would say that’s something we’re more apt to pursue that way."

As for the report that the Red Sox were showing strong interest in former Mariners closer Edwin Diaz before he was dealt to the Mets, Dombrowski said talks never really got serious because of the additional piece that would need to be included in the deal (Robinson Cano).

"I talked to (Seattle GM) Jerry (DiPoto) but I don’t know necessarily the guys that they traded fit for us with what they were looking to do," Dombrowski said. "There was a reliever but there was a bigger … It was a situation that really wasn’t a fit for us."

Related: Why Kelvin Herrera will be of some interest to the Red Sox