The Phillies were in the market to sign pitcher Nathan Eovaldi but wanted him to serve as the team’s closer rather than in the rotation.
Nathan Eovaldi was one of the top pitchers on the market this offseason before ultimately re-signing with the Red Sox to the tune of four years and $68 million. The Phillies were one of the teams also pursuing the righty, but not in the capacity you would expect.
Jayson Stark of the Athletic reported that despite looking for a starter, Philadelphia pursued Eovaldi to be their closing pitcher. This was a dealbreaker for Eovaldi as he stated at his press conference with the Red Sox that he wanted to remain a starter long-term.
The Phillies are in the market for a closer, expressing interest in Andrew Miller, Craig Kimbrel, and Zach Britton. However, given that they talked to Eovaldi about being a closer, maybe they are not in love with the top closers now on the market.
Philadelphia is primarily looking for a left-handed starter, which would help explain why they would rather have Eovaldi in the bullpen. Given his injury history (two Tommy John surgeries) and powerful fastball, it is easy to see Eovaldi transition to a bullpen role. However, he wants to remain a starter, and it appears he will get that with Boston.
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Eovaldi spent the regular season largely in the rotation, but that changed during the postseason. He made one relief appearance and one start in the ALCS then made three relief appearances during the World Series. He threw two shutout innings in Games One and Two against the Dodgers, then pitched six innings during the Game Three 18-inning marathon. Despite ultimately being the losing pitcher, Eovaldi still drew praise for coming out of the bullpen and throwing 97 pitches.
Just because Philadelphia missed out on Eovaldi does not mean that they are done in the pitching market. They could pick up both a starter and closer by the end of the offseason after adding a couple relievers via trade.