Red Sox Payroll Reset: Big decisions loom after Nathan Eovaldi signing


The Boston Red Sox just won the 2018 World Series, and just re-signed one of the heroes of their title run.

But in the City of Champions, you can only rest on your laurels for so long.

Nathan Eovaldi's signing with Boston on Thursday means the Red Sox have a solid starter locked up for the next four years. His deal raises a valid question, though: What the heck will this team look like 2022?

As Boston ponders whether to bring back closer Craig Kimbrel in free agency, it must weigh several major decisions involving key players that will crop up as early as next winter.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the Red Sox's payroll situation over the next few seasons to see which players can hit free agency, and when.


Unrestricted free agents: Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Mitch Moreland, Steve Pearce, Eduardo Nunez, Brock Holt, Tyler Thornburg

Opt-out clause: J.D. Martinez

Final year of arbitration: Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Sandy Leon, Steven Wright, Brandon Workman

Skinny: This will be a huge offseason for Boston. Do the Sox let two-thirds of their rotation walk in Sale and Porcello, or offer new contracts to two pitchers on the wrong side of 30?

Bogaerts would be great to keep around, but he'll likely command a long-term contract -- which the Red Sox may want to think twice about if they want to re-sign Betts and/or Bradley in 2020.

Unless Martinez has a disastrous 2019 campaign, we can't see him opting out and going elsewhere.


Unrestricted free agents: Betts, Bogaerts, Bradley, Leon, Wright, Workman

Final year of arbitration: Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree

Analysis: Get ready for a Boston vs. Betts showdown. The Red Sox have expressed interest in signing Betts long-term, but his agent, Steve Veltman of the Legacy Agency, could demend a hefty deal that approaches (or exceeds) $300 million.

Does that leave Bradley out in the cold -- or would the Sox actually consider moving on from the 2018 MVP to explore cheaper outfield options?


Unrestricted free agents: Dustin Pedroia, Rodriguez, Barnes, Hembree

Final year of arbitration: Andrew Benintendi, Blake Swihart, Robby Scott, Marco Hernandez

Analysis: This could be the end of the line for Pedroia, who will be 38 entering the 2021 offseason. Rodriguez's fate likely will hinge on what Boston decides to do with Sale, Porcello and the rotation in the 2019 offseason.


Unrestricted free agents: David Price, Eovaldi, Martinez, Benintendi, Christian Vazquez, Swihart, Scott, Hernandez

Final year of arbitration: Rafael Devers, Sam Travis, Tzu-Wei Lin, Brian Johnson, Colten Brewer, Hector Velazquez

Analysis: This should be another franchise-defining offseason, with several major contributors hitting free agency. But it's still four years away, and we don't want to get ahead of ourselves ... right?

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