Nathan Eovaldi has had a pretty remarkable turnaround. In 2016, he posted a 4.76 ERA with the Yankees and got released after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He signed a show-me deal with the Tampa Bay Rays while recovering and made his return to the Major Leagues in 2018. He pitched well enough to draw the interest of the Red Sox who acquired him prior to the trade deadline to add depth to their rotation.
With the Red Sox, the hard-throwing Eovaldi put up a 3.33 ERA in 12 starts, but it’s what he did in the playoffs that made his value as a pitcher shoot through the roof. He tossed 14 2/3 innings in the division and championship series in two starts and one relief appearance, scattering just three earned runs. Then, in the World Series, Eovaldi pitched a whopping six innings in relief during that 18-inning marathon game. He took the loss as Max Muncy hit a walk-off bomb, but Eovaldi gained cult hero status as he said he was ready to pitch again the next day. All told, Eovaldi tossed 22 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in the playoffs with a staggering 1.61 ERA.
It’s amazing what a good showing in the playoffs can do. Eovaldi went from a guy who was released and signed on a show-me deal to one of the hottest pitchers on the open market thanks to a good showing when it mattered most.
Now pretty much everyone is calling his agent and the Blue Jays are reportedly one of the teams with serious interest. Rob Bradford of WEEI doubled down, again listing the Jays as a suitor for Eovaldi…
The Boston Globe reported Sunday that some of the teams believed to have shown interest include the Brewers, Angels, Phillies, Braves, Blue Jays, Padres, White Sox, Giants and, of course, Red Sox. It is believed there are actually additional teams beyond that group who have dipped their toe in the Eovaldi pool. (The Yankees, for one, undoubtedly would be in line to at least kick the tires on their former right-hander despite most reports pointing them in the direction of free agent starter Patrick Corbin.)
It’s no secret the Jays need to add some starting pitching. As of right now, the starting rotation for 2019 looks like Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, and Ryan Borucki. In the mix would be Sean Reid-Foley and Thomas Pannone, who enjoyed a cup of coffee with the team in 2018, newly-acquired Trent Thornton, eventually Julian Merryweather, the Donaldson return who’s rehabbing from surgery, and others like Jacob Waguespack and Jon Harris, depending on what happens with the Rule 5 Draft.
Eovaldi has pitched in the American League East, spending most of his career with New York, and, of course, pitching most recently with Tampa Bay and Boston. Though it seems like he’s been around forever, he’s only 28 years old, just one year older than Marcus Stroman.
There’s going to be a bidding war for Eovaldi’s services. Like I said, he’s young, and he’s a perfect what have you done recently case. He also isn’t going to cost the signing team a draft pick, which makes him potentially more attractive than other marquee free agent starters like Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel.
Maybe it’s recency bias, but it seems Eovaldi’s best days are ahead of him. While the Jays won’t compete for a couple years, adding Eovaldi would give them a good, young-ish arm to build with.