4:36pm: Eovaldi has received interest from “everybody and their mother,” a source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI. However, “truly serious suitors” won’t begin to stand out until after Thanksgiving, Bradford hears. The Yankees are among those who will at least consider Eovaldi, per Bradford.
8:59am: Free-agent starter Nathan Eovaldi has drawn considerable interest on the open market, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, who writes that the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays and Giants join the previously reported Red Sox and Padres as early suitors for the right-hander. More teams may join the fray, Cafardo adds.
Although Eovaldi is a two-time Tommy John surgery recipient who only threw 111 regular-season innings in 2018, the soon-to-be 29-year-old still managed to significantly boost his stock. Across 22 appearances (21 starts) divided between Tampa Bay and Boston, Eovaldi pitched to a solid 3.81 ERA/3.60 FIP with 8.19 K/9, 1.62 BB/9 and a 45.6 percent groundball rate. Among pitchers who threw at least 100 innings, Eovaldi finished third in both average fastball velocity (97.4 mph) and infield fly percentage (15.7), tied for sixth in BB/9, and 12th in K/BB ratio (5.05). He also yielded a paltry .284 expected weighted on-base average, an even more impressive figure than the .293 real wOBA hitters registered against him.
After posting those strong numbers during the regular season, Eovaldi proved capable of shining on the game’s biggest stage for the Red Sox, who couldn’t have asked for more when they acquired him in July. Eovaldi surrendered just four earned runs in 22 1/3 postseason innings, helping the Red Sox vanquish the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers en route to a World Series title. The success Eovaldi enjoyed in October surely helped his stock heading toward the open market, where MLBTR predicts he’ll land a four-year, $60MM guarantee.
A lucrative payday for Eovaldi this offseason may have been unthinkable at this time last year, when he was still recovering from the 2016 Tommy John surgery he underwent as a Yankee. However, Eovaldi now has a clean bill of health. Dr. Christopher Ahmad, who performed Eovaldi’s most recent surgery, gave his right arm a ringing endorsement Friday, telling Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston: “To me, he’s over Tommy John surgery and he’s over revision Tommy John surgery. And I would consider him in the same category of somebody who has a healthy arm, and whatever worry I have about that player, I have the same or less for Nate.”
Adding to Eovaldi’s appeal, he doesn’t come with a qualifying offer attached, which isn’t the case with either Patrick Corbin or Dallas Keuchel – the only starters MLBTR projects to sign bigger contracts. Of course, Eovaldi’s resume isn’t on the level of theirs. While Corbin and Keuchel have offered superstar-caliber production at times, Eovaldi has generally performed like a mid- to back-end starter. Also a former Dodger and Marlin, Eovaldi owns a 4.16 ERA/3.82 FIP with 6.78 K/9, 2.74 BB/9 and a 46.8 percent grounder rate over 850 innings, and he hasn’t exceeded 125 frames in a season since 2015. There are certainly some red flags with Eovaldi, then, yet it’s still unsurprising that teams are lining up for his services.