Eovaldi signed on with Tampa Bay in a contract that promised him $2MM last year just to rehab. The Rays, of course, hoped he’d show enough in working back from Tommy John and flexor tendon surgery that he could be retained for a cheap price for the season to come, and that’s just what is now going to take place.
All indications are that Eovaldi has shown signs of rounding back into form while building back arm strength this year. Indeed, there was even some suggestion he might try to return to action late in the 2017 season, though that did not come to pass.
Tampa Bay seems inclined to give Eovaldi a shot at earning a rotation spot. He has had success at times in that role previously, though never as much as his raw talent might suggest. Most recently, Eovaldi provided the Yankees with 124 2/3 innings of 4.76 ERA pitching in 2016. While homers were a big problem, he did manage career highs in fastball velocity (97 mph), swinging-strike rate (9.3%), and groundball rate (49.6%).