The Astros are among the teams showing “continued interest” in righty Nathan Eovaldi, tweets MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Eovaldi has already been connected to a slew of interested parties, including the Phillies, Yankees, Brewers, Braves, Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays, Giants and Padres.
The match between the two sides is obvious, and Houston’s interest was widely expected. The Astros lost Lance McCullers Jr. for the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery and could also lose both Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton to free agency. Though the ’Stros have a number of rotation alternatives already in the organization — Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock and top prospect Forrest Whitley among them — there’s little doubt that president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow and his staff will add some options from outside the organization. Eovaldi, a Houston-area native, is among the top starters in free agency.
At present, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are slated to front the Houston rotation in 2019, though both right-handers will be free agents next offseason. The proximity of those contracts’ endpoints only furthers the Astros’ needs to add some rotation help that can be controlled beyond the 2019 campaign.
Eovaldi, who won’t turn 29 until February, returned from his second Tommy John surgery in 2018 and turned in 111 innings of 3.81 ERA ball with 8.2 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9 in 22 appearances between the Rays and Red Sox. Eovaldi also thrived under the bright lights of the 2018 postseason, when he allowed four runs on 15 hits and three walks with 16 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings –good for a 1.61 ERA in the first playoff action of his career.