One of the best Trade Deadline additions any team made in 2018, Nathan Eovaldi posted a 3.33 ERA over 12 regular-season appearances (11 starts) with the Red Sox before shining in the postseason for the World Series champions. Having boosted his stock considerably, Eovaldi should draw significant interest on the free-agent market.
Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the right-hander.
Red Sox finalize deal with Eovaldi
Dec. 6: Talks between the Red Sox and Nathan Eovaldi intensified over the past 24 hours, so much so that the two sides have finalized a four-year contract through the 2022 season.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reports that the contract is for $68 million. That's quite a payday for Eovaldi, who missed all of 2017 recovering from the second Tommy John surgery in his career before returning to full health and form this past season.
Eovaldi was acquired by the Red Sox in July of last season. He went 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 12 regular-season appearances (11 starts), then wowed on the postseason stage, posting a 1.61 ERA in six games (two starts).
Robert Murray of The Athletic had reported on the accelertated negotiations Wednesday, the same day MLB Network insider Jon Heyman had heard a four-year deal worth around $17 million a year was being discussed. An executive from a club believed to be in on Eovaldi told Feinsand on Wednesday that Boston was closing in on a deal, adding that "the market is really just the Red Sox at this point."
Why Eovaldi could be Hot Stove's next hot name
Dec. 5: With Patrick Corbin off the market, where does that leave Nathan Eovaldi? In the Yankees' sights, for one thing.
New York was one of the biggest contenders to sign Corbin, but lost out on the free-agent left-hander to the Nationals, who offered Corbin a sixth year that the Yankees wouldn't. So for now, the Yanks have turned their attention to Eovaldi, as well as J.A. Happ, sources told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi on Tuesday.
Eovaldi might be the more attractive option, as he offers a higher ceiling than Happ. Eovaldi has electric stuff, starting with a fastball that can reach triple digits, and is much younger -- he's 28, while Happ is 36.
However, MLB Network insider Joel Sherman wrote Tuesday for the New York Post that the Yankees "appear hesitant to reunite with Eovaldi" if it's going to take a four-year deal to sign him, which means the right-hander may receive a more attractive offer from another team.
Which team might that be? Potentially the Phillies, who were also in on Corbin before he agreed to a deal with the Nats. The Padres are believed to have interest in Eovaldi as well. And don't count out the Red Sox. Boston seems to be prioritizing re-signing Eovaldi, according to MLB.com's Ian Browne, after the righty proved instrumental in the club's title run following his midseason acquisition from the Rays.
Meanwhile, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand predicts Eovaldi will end up with the Astros. The right-hander is from Alvin, Texas, which is less than 35 miles from Houston, and Feinsand thinks the lure of pitching close to home could give the Astros the edge if Houston's offer is comparable to those from other teams.
Put simply, it seems Eovaldi has a good chance to become the Hot Stove's next hot name among starters with Corbin off the board.
After adding Richards, Padres remain interested in Eovaldi
Dec. 3: Garrett Richards has a two-year deal in place with the Padres, but he probably won't pitch for them until 2020 as he continues to recover from the Tommy John surgery he underwent last July. That could leave San Diego in the market to bolster its rotation for the '19 season. And Nathan Eovaldi, who has been linked to the Friars for over a month, remains in their sights, per The Athletic's Dennis Lin.
Like Richards, Eovaldi has been a victim of Tommy John -- twice, in fact. And when he came back last season from his most recent procedure, the flamethrowing right-hander put together a career year propelled by postseason heroics for the Red Sox that have seemingly catapulted his free-agent market.
The Padres' No.1-ranked farm system by MLB Pipeline is largely built on pitching, but not many will be Major League ready for the upcoming season. General manager A.J. Preller is reportedly in the market for "quality" starting pitching, and he has shelled out expensive contracts to free agents in the past, such as James Shields and, most recently, Eric Hosmer.
Eovaldi is just 28 years old, so he could help an up-and-coming team now and in the future. The Padres' rotation had just four pitchers make 20 or more starts in '18 and it doesn't possess much elite velocity, so Eovaldi could be a strong addition in that regard as well.
Justice: Eovaldi, Red Sox are a perfect fit
Dec. 3: Remember last winter when it seemed like J.D. Martinez was a perfect fit for the Red Sox all along? Then the two sides matched up and, well, the rest is history. That could be the case again this winter for Boston, only this time with Nathan Eovaldi.
MLB.com's Richard Justice suggests that the hard-throwing righty is exactly what the Red Sox need -- and that a return to Boston looks just right for Eovaldi, too.
"As much as the Astros would like to convince the free-agent right-hander to play for his hometown team, Eovaldi should stay put," Justice writes. "If nothing else, he wouldn't want to miss being in a Red Sox uniform when he's introduced as a World Series hero at Fenway Park for the first time next season. Those roars will live in his head forever. After seven seasons and five organizations, Eovaldi finally found the thing every Major Leaguer is seeking. Why leave?"
A number of clubs have been linked to Eovaldi, who seems to be in position to pick where he wants to play next after a strong second half of 2018 and a breakout showing on the national stage during the postseason. But re-signing with the Red Sox does make a lot of sense, given not only his success with the team but also Boston's need for pitching depth, particularly for a rotation that skews left-handed (Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez).
Should the Mets pursue Eovaldi regardless of Syndergaard's status?
Dec. 2: Amid rumors that the Mets and Indians have discussed a potential trade involving two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, SNY's Matthew Cerrone suggests that another right-hander on the market could also be a good target for New York: Nathan Eovaldi.
"Regardless of whether the Mets trade Noah Syndergaard, it makes sense for them to sign free-agent Nathan Eovaldi, who is reportedly being pursued by up to 10 teams," Cerrone writes. " ... The Mets can state their belief in Jason Vargas all they want, but the fact is he had such a terrible 2018 that he has to be a considered a major question mark. ... The point is, the Mets -- especially with Zack Wheeler potentially leaving as a free agent after 2019 -- need another pitcher in the middle of the rotation who has major upside, and Eovaldi fits that mold."
Vargas posted a 5.77 ERA over 20 starts in '18. He also turns 36 in February. Cerrone also notes it was Wheeler who appeared to be closest of the Mets' starters to being dealt last summer, and Eovaldi fits the profile of a successful pitcher under the bright lights of New York.
"First off, I love that he has experienced life pitching for the Yankees in New York, and he pitched multiple heroic moments for the Red Sox under the unique scrutiny of their local media," Cerrone writes. "He's battle-tested in a way most pitchers are not when coming to the Mets, which, as you know, can be a crippling environment for some free agents. However, at this point, given what he pitched through in the Bronx and Boston, I don't expect Queens will be an issue for him."
Eovaldi's free-agent stock rose with his stellar showing in the postseason for Boston, when he turned in a 1.61 ERA over six appearances (two starts) to help the Red Sox win the World Series. In 12 regular-season appearances (11 starts) following a trade from Tampa Bay, the 28-year-old right-hander had a 3.33 ERA.
Besides Astros and Red Sox, these teams could be in on Eovaldi
Dec. 1: MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported Friday that the market for Nathan Eovaldi is "heating up," with the Red Sox and Astros being labeled as the two leading contenders. But those aren't the only teams that might have interest in the right-hander.
According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, the Nationals have reached out to the representatives of Eovaldi, as well as Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Saturday that the team recently met with Corbin, per a tweet from Mark Zuckerman of masnsports.com. Washington is considered one of the top contenders for the left-hander, but the Yankees and the Phillies are believed to be more likely to land him. Eovaldi could be the Nats' top fallback option, as he'll likely cost less than Keuchel.
That said, the Nationals may also be competing with the Yankees for Eovaldi, as Jayson Stark of The Athletic has heard that New York hasn't ruled out signing another high-profile starter such as Eovaldi or J.A. Happ, even if it adds Corbin to previous acquisition James Paxton.
Eovaldi market "heating up"
Nov. 30: The Eovaldi pursuit appears to be gaining steam, as a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand on Friday that the right-hander's market "is heating up." The Red Sox and Astros -- both of whom have been most prominently linked to Eovaldi -- are currently the two leading contenders to land the star from this past postseason, per Feinsand, though other teams remain in the mix as well.
Eovaldi is arguably the top right-handed starter available in this year's free-agent class, and his stock skyrocketed after six brilliant postseason outings during which he helped the Red Sox win the World Series title. Boston was victorious in five of his playoff appearances, with its lone loss coming in the 18-inning World Series Game 3, when Eovaldi threw six innings on one day's rest and gave up just three hits, including the walk-off homer by Max Muncy.
A reunion between Eovaldi and the Red Sox has long been speculated, given how valuable he proved to be as an acquisition from the Rays ahead of last season's Trade Deadline, as well as Boston's needs in both the rotation and bullpen.
And given his swingman ability, elite velocity and high spin, Eovaldi has also been touted to be a strong fit for the Astros, who suddenly have a depleted rotation with Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton currently free agents and Lance McCullers Jr. lost for the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery. MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported earlier this week that the Astros were showing "continued interest" in Eovaldi.
Is Eovaldi a top-of-the-rotation ace?
Nov. 30: Eovaldi's October heroics have made him perhaps the most intriguing player among this year's free-agent class, specifically in the manner in which he delivered last postseason. Eovaldi proved he could be both a dominant starter and a high-leverage reliever, which has sparked discussion to what role he might fill wherever he winds up.
However, given the limited sample size of the postseason and Eovaldi's injury history, can he be a top-of-the-rotation ace? MLB Network analyst and former big leaguer Dan Plesac had pause to suggest as much for the hard-throwing right-hander.
"Top of the rotation? No," Plesac said on MLB Network's Intentional Talk. "[No.] 3 or 4 guy, legit solid yes, and you also with what he was able to do in October. He could be a guy that you could use [as] that swing guy to throw into that super reliever, so I think there is a lot of appeal for Eovaldi. He changed a lot of people's perception of his stuff and his pitching ability in the World Series."
Plesac went on to say that a reunion with the Red Sox appears like it would be the most logical fit. Boston's rotation overcame its ups and downs from the regular season during October, with David Price, Chris Sale and Rick Porcello each pitching as well as they had all season. And its oft-suspect bullpen also held its own, posting a 2.71 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .187 average over 63 innings.
But both the starting and relief units have question marks entering 2019, notably with closer Craig Kimbrel on the free-agent market, which lends credence to the notion that Eovaldi would be a strong fit for the Red Sox.
"I think they value him the most," Plesac said of the Red Sox's views on Eovaldi. "A rotation that could use him, yes, but a bullpen particularly. Craig Kimbrel is a free agent. They're not sure if he's going to stay. He's a tremendous swing guy. He can be in your rotation and we've already seen that he's proven that he can adapt to the bullpen."
Astros showing 'continued interest' in Eovaldi
Nov. 28: Stop us if you've heard this before, but the Astros have their eye on a hard-throwing right-hander. Yes, the club that recently has helped revitalize the careers of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton and others is showing "continued interest" in free agent Nathan Eovaldi, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Wednesday.
Signing with Houston would be something of a homecoming for Eovaldi, who is from Alvin, Texas -- same as one Nolan Ryan, currently an executive advisor with the Astros, as Morosi noted. That's not the only reason the 28-year-old Eovaldi would be great fit, though: He possesses some of the best velocity in the sport, particularly among starting pitchers, and the Astros have excelled at getting the most out of arms of that ilk.
Not to mention, with Dallas Keuchel and Morton out of the picture as free agents and Lance McCullers Jr. due to miss all of next season after Tommy John surgery, the club has a big need in the rotation. And safe to say, Eovaldi's excellent postseason performance for Boston -- including a win in his Game 3 start of the American League Championship Series against Houston -- only makes him more enticing for an Astros team looking to get back to the World Series.
Why Eovaldi is a good fit for Yankees
Nov. 27: The Yankees have re-signed CC Sabathia and traded for fellow left-hander James Paxton already this offseason. The expectation remains that they'll continue to seek out rotation help, and one big candidate also is a familiar one in the Bronx: Nathan Eovaldi.
That Eovaldi, 28, has pitched in pinstripes before and has shown the ability to come up clutch in October actually might make him a better fit for the Yankees now than, say, Patrick Corbin. The lefty is considered the best starter available in free agency, and as such, often is linked to the Yankees.
As Brett Borzell of Pinstripe Alley notes: "Eovaldi's biggest selling point may be his proven ability to pitch well in the Bronx. In addition to his dominant performance as an opposing player in front of a raucous and hostile crowd this October, Eovaldi boasts a 3.70 career ERA at Yankee Stadium. That's nearly a half-run better than his overall mark."
Add in Eovaldi's success in his first taste of the postseason -- he posted a 1.61 ERA over 22 1/3 innings across two starts and four relief appearances -- and it's easy to see why a return to the Yankees would make sense. Although Eovaldi had a 4.45 ERA in two seasons with the club (2015-16), he showed flashes of reaching his potential and appeared to have turned a corner in '18 by adding a swing-and-miss cutter to his high-octane arsenal.