The Red Sox have been through this before.
A top-of-the-rotation Red Sox starting pitcher heading into the final year of his contract. Jon Lester. Rick Porcello. Chris Sale. Eduardo Rodriguez. And, now, Nathan Eovaldi.
But if you're anticipating some news about an extension for Eovaldi - who is headed into the final season of a four-year, $68 million deal - you can stand down for a while.
According to a major league source, there are no plans to talk contract for Eovaldi with the Red Sox until February.
Eovaldi case is an interesting one considering how strong the 31-year-old came on in 2021, totaling a 3.75 ERA in 32 starts while finishing with the third-highest WAR of any pitcher (according to Fangraphs).
The righty also continued to define himself as a premier postseason performer, with the Red Sox going 5-1 in Eovaldi's playoff starts. He has also established himself as one of the team's undeniable team leaders.
Over his time with the Red Sox, Eovaldi has managed a combined ERA of 3.98 ERA with his team going 45-35 in games he has appeared.
While the Red Sox will have some interesting starting rotation candidates emerging at the time Eovaldi is eligible for free agency, there is the sense of certainty the pitcher supplies. Chris Sale has an opt-out after 2022 (which one would imagine he doesn't exercise), while Nick Pivetta will remain under team control through the 2024 campaign.
If no deal is struck, Eovaldi will be joining what figures to be a good-but-not-great free-agent starting pitching class, with the likes of Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt and Jose Berrios in line to hit the market, with Luis Severino, Sonny Gray and Aaron Nola carrying team options. Jacob deGrom can also opt-out o his deal, which is slated to pay him a combined $64 million in 2023 and '24.