Yankees Vs. Red Sox Arms Race Heats Up With Inking Of Zach Britton And Nathan Eovaldi

Jim MoneAP Images

The Red Sox answered back to the Yankees’ signing of Zach Britton by taking Nathan Eovaldi off the Tampa Bay Rays’ hands. While Britton was heavily rumored to be going to the Red Sox last week by a few under-informed sources, the reality of the situation was that they were looking to drive up the price for any other team looking to acquire the Orioles reliever. Pending all parties passing their physicals, in both trades, the deals should be done by close of business Wednesday.

On the Yankees’ deal, the cost of Britton wound up only being right-handers Dillon Tate and Cody Carroll and lefty Josh Rogers, according to CBS News. Tate is the best ranked of the trio, previously listed as the Yankees ninth-best prospect, but he has never had an injury-free season. Carrol is armed with an elite range fastball, but no control of it. Rogers has a respectable slash line at AAA this season, making 19 starts already, but he is not a top 30 ranked prospect in the organization.

For the Yankees, the Britton deal means a deep bullpen got even deeper. Despite injuries this year, should Aroldis Chapman struggle, Britton can close along with David Robertson if necessary. The main things the Yankees did was keep Britton from landing with another team and shorten the game for struggling starters like Sonny Gray. It isn’t directly addressing their need for starting pitching, but it is a move to shorten the game to the bullpen while providing Chapman insurance.

The Red Sox picking up Eovaldi is a bit more intriguing. By all appearances, their target the last couple of weeks had been the Rays other starter, Chris Archer. With two pitchers on the DL already, Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright, and another just returning, Drew Pomeranz, Boston’s been mostly concerned with picking up a starter the last couple of weeks. Going for Eovaldi, the BoSox keep a little extra money under the cap to work with than if they went for Archer, and they still get a solid starter who was among the best remaining on the trade market according to NJ.com.

Eovaldi should shore up the middle of the rotation for Boston, being dependable enough to eat innings and keep scores close enough to not be a weak point in the rotation. He can strike out a lot of hitters, even be dominant at times, but after returning from Tommy John surgery in May, there are still some worries about his durability. According to MLB.com, Boston sent Tampa Bay lefty Jalen Beeks, the number 15 prospect Boston had in their organization. For each team, analysts say this was a trade that looks good on paper.

While neither move boosts the Yankees or Red Sox to have an advantage over the other, what they did do was hold static while removing available pieces from the trading pool other contenders are fishing in. Both Britton and Eovaldi come with some physical baggage, and it remains to be seen how each will be used with their new teams and how they adjust to that transition.