9:12pm: The Yankees are “hesitant” to pursue a reunion with Eovaldi if his market pushes to four years, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
7:55pm: Neither the Yankees nor the Phillies were willing to go to a sixth year for lefty Patrick Corbin, per reports from Billy Witz of the New York Times and Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter links), and they’re now left to seek out alternatives following Corbin’s reported six-year, $140MM agreement with the Nationals.
For the Yankees, that means shifting their focus to a pair of familiar faces in Nathan Eovaldi and J.A. Happ, Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets. Witz suggests that the Yankees will also continue looking into Keuchel and further explore the trade market.
Meanwhile, it seems that the Phillies will be giving the Yankees some competition in some of those efforts. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that Happ will now become a primary focus for the Phils, while Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets that Philadelphia “will consider” Dallas Keuchel. The Phillies are aiming to add one starter to the rotation, Heyman continues, with a left-hander in particular being a preference.
Keuchel, Eovaldi and Happ are the consensus top starters remaining on the market, with the possible exception of Japanese southpaw Yusei Kikuchi, who was posted by the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball yesterday. Of the bunch, Keuchel is subject to draft-pick compensation for a new team after rejecting a one-year, $17.9MM qualifying offer from the Astros. Both Happ and Eovaldi would’ve been candidates for qualifying offers had they not been traded midseason, thus rendering them ineligible to receive one.
Soon to turn 31, Keuchel has been a workhorse in the Houston rotation over the past five seasons, pitching to a collective 3.28 ERA with 7.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9 and a whopping 60 percent ground-ball rate that leads all qualified Major League starting pitchers in that time. Keuchel, a two-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, hasn’t been as dominant since winning the 2015 AL Cy Young Award, but he led the AL in starts last season and has turned in a sub-4.00 ERA in four of the past five seasons.
Eovaldi, 29 in February, returned from Tommy John surgery with a flourish in 2018, raising his free-agent stock more than perhaps any starting pitcher other than the aforementioned Corbin. He’s been most prominently connected to his hometown Astros and the Red Sox as of late — neither of whom figure to be thrilled with the concept of the Yankees making an increased push to sign the flamethrowing righty.
Happ, 36, is reported to have received interest from as many as 10 teams. Because his age suppresses the length of the contract he can reasonably be expected to land, Happ has drawn interest from clubs in all market sizes. The Brewers, Reds, Twins, Angels, Astros, Blue Jays and White Sox are among the clubs that have already been linked to Happ, to say nothing of previous connections to the Phils and Yanks — both of which now figure to increase with Corbin off the board.