The Pirates and Yankees have discussed a swap involving Yankees righty Nathan Eovaldi, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. The Bucs are currently seeking stability in their rotation after watching Jon Niese and Jeff Locke struggle this year. They recently sent Niese to the bullpen.
Eovaldi, too, has had his troubles this year, with a 5.11 ERA, 7.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 to go with 19 home runs allowed in 98 2/3 innings. But the Pirates, whose 2013-2015 playoff runs were built in large part upon their ability to fix other organizations’ struggling pitchers (including former Yankees starter A.J. Burnett), might see promise in Eovaldi, given his high-90s fastball and good ground ball rate (50.7% this season). He also is controllable through 2017, potentially giving the Pirates a longer-term rotation fix. The Yankees recently moved Eovaldi to the bullpen, although he is scheduled to return to the rotation Tuesday.
The Pirates were briefly connected to Eovaldi when he was with the Marlins, with MLB.com’s Tom Singer tweeting at the time that there were discussions between the two teams. Bucs president Frank Coonelly said shortly thereafter that the Pirates hadn’t come close to acquiring Eovaldi, however.
The Yankees are currently 44-45 and on the fringes of the Wild Card race, although dealing Eovaldi might be seen less as part of an overall selling strategy and more as an effort to move a veteran who has been ineffective. Biertempfel points out that the Pirates have several ready or nearly-ready young starting pitchers to trade, including Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault and Trevor Williams.