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Red Sox free agency update: Nathan Eovaldi and Craig Kimbrel

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An update on Boston’s two biggest free agents from the 2018 team.

World Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Boston Red Sox - Game One Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The two biggest free agents departing the Red Sox this winter are Nathan Eovaldi and Craig Kimbrel, both of whom were in the news on Friday. Boston is expected to be pursuing new contracts with both, so let’s check in on where things stand.

Red Sox and Astros favorites for Nathan Eovaldi

It seems like things on the Eovaldi market are heating up right now, and Boston is right in the thick of things. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Red Sox and Astros are the two leading contenders to sign Eovaldi right now. As Feinsand notes, they aren’t the only teams involves and other clubs can certainly get themselves back towards the top of the market as well. That being said, it’s fitting that Boston and Houston are battling for a top free agent after battling in the ALCS. The Astros need rotation help badly after losing three-fifths of their rotation with Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton leaving in free agency and Lance McCullers suffering an injury that will keep him out all year. Eovaldi fits the high-velocity mold they’ve been able to thrive with in recent years. The Red Sox need one starter for the back of their rotation, and Eovaldi proved last year that he can succeed in Fenway. I will certainly not complain if he comes back and have no doubt in his talent, but the injury history does scare me.

Craig Kimbrel reportedly seeking six-year deal

File this under: We have this conversation every year. On Friday, Buster Olney of ESPN reported that former (and maybe future) Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel is asking for a six-year deal in his initial asks. The reaction to these kind of reports are always shock, but by now we should know this is how it works. Players at the top of any free agent market asks for a huge deal to start negotiations before moving down into more reasonable territory. These agents know how to do their job. It’s the same thing as rebuilding teams asking for huge prospect packages in trade talks before becoming more reasonable. Kimbrel isn’t going to get six years, but he’s going to get a huge contract. I think the Red Sox could make it work if they move in a different direction, but I’m also more confident in the future Hall of Famer than most seem to be even after his awful postseason. The control issues are frustrating, but the fact is Kimbrel has been elite or near-elite every year of his career. In 2016, his worst season, he still put up a 2.87 FIP and a 2.88 DRA.