The Phillies are reportedly interested in signing free agent pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who just won the World Series with the Red Sox.
The Phillies are looking for an upgrade in their rotation this offseason, either via trade or free agency. There are several options out there in both categories. One player drawing interest from Philadelphia (and several other teams) is 28-year-old Nathan Eovaldi.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe included Eovaldi in his recent update on the Red Sox. He stated that the Phils were one of multiple teams expressing interest in Eovaldi early on in free agency. The other teams included were the Brewers, Braves, Angels, Red Sox, White Sox, Blue Jays, Padres, and Giants.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Eovaldi is the No. 7 overall free agent in the class and third-best starting pitcher. They predicted he will get a four-year, $60 million contract from his current team, the Red Sox.
I previously broke down the case for and against signing Eovaldi. He is coming off a strong year with the Red Sox and Rays, topped off by a stellar postseason. In 22 appearances in the regular season, he had a 3.81 ERA, 5.05 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and 1.126 WHIP. During the playoffs, he gave up just four earned runs in 22.1 innings.
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What also helps Eovaldi’s case as a free agent is the fact that he doesn’t have a qualifying offer attached, unlike Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel. If that is something the team cares about, Eovaldi is a better option.
However, Eovaldi’s health is a major concern considering he has two Tommy John surgeries in his past. He missed the first two months of the season with loose bodies in his elbow.
This is a major red flag that often keeps starters from getting long-term deals.
Dr. Christopher Ahmad, who performed Eovaldi’s second Tommy John surgery, provided reassurance about Eovaldi’s health moving forward: [quote via Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston]
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"“To me, he’s over Tommy John surgery and he’s over revision Tommy John surgery,” Dr. Christopher Ahmad, the Yankees’ team physician who operated on Eovaldi’s elbow and forearm in 2016, told NBC Sports Boston. “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.”"
Eovaldi may not be a full fit with Philadelphia as they would ideally like to add a left-handed starter to the rotation. Ranger Suarez was the first lefty the team started since the end of 2016 season. General manager Matt Klentak expressed an interest in adding one at the general manager meetings earlier this month.
Either way, the team is at least expressing some interest in adding Eovaldi. He could wind up being a good addition to the rotation.