The New York Yankees had high hopes for Nathan Eovaldi when they acquired him prior to the 2015 season.
A 24-year-old at the time, the hulking right-hander threw 100 miles per hour. He needed to learn how to pitch rather than throw, but New York saw promise, and so they dealt Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Marlins in exchange for Eovaldi.
Two years later, it is safe to say the Marlins won that deal.
The Yankees unconditionally released Eovaldi on Monday after his his 2016 season ended with a torn flexor tendon and a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. He will miss all of the 2017 season and at least part of the 2018 campaign. Given the chance that he may not pitch again until 2019, the Bombers decided not to waste a roster spot on him.
Eovaldi is coming off an inconsistent two years in the Bronx. At times, he showed flashes of brilliance, but ultimately he walks away from his Yankees stint with a 23-11 record, 4.45 ERA, 94 ERA+, 4.11 FIP, 1.387 WHIP, 9.6 H/9 and 7.0 K/9 in 279 innings.
Despite his velocity, Eovaldi has never been one to strike hitters out; his fastball is as straight as an arrow and the victim of frequent contact. He developed a splitter while in New York and it works wonders for him when he uses it, but he does not do so often enough.
So, with Eovaldi now on the open market, what teams are going to want to take a flier on a pedestrian fireballer who’s certain not to pitch in the next year-and-a-half?
Given his age, talent and the fact that he will come at a dirt-cheap cost, he should have a few suitors as he continues to rehab.New York Yankees
Despite his release, Eovaldi may not be done with the Yankees just yet. According to ESPN, general manager Brian Cashman said the two sides could reunite with an incentive-laden deal. In this scenario, Eovaldi would rehab with the Yankees in 2017 and hopefully be ready at some point during the 2018 season. With that said, Eovaldi is free to sign with any team he wants to.
The Reds are in the middle of a rebuild right now, so the fact that Eovaldi won’t be around in 2017 is not a deterrent. Given how cheap the righty will come, signing Eovaldi would give Cincy a chance to stock up on pitching depth. He’ll still be under 30 years old at that point, so if he ever harnesses his potential, he could become a gem for the Reds. If not, they can always move him to the bullpen or simply let him go.
Everyone knows the Pirates and pitching coach Ray Searage love reclamation projects. Whether it be Francisco Liriano, Edinson Volquez, A.J. Burnett or Ivan Nova, Pittsburgh has a knack for taking hurlers whose best days are seemingly behind them and turning them into ace-caliber pitchers. Could Eovaldi, once healthy, be the Pirates’ next project?
A native of Houston Texas, Eovaldi went to the same high school as Hall of Famer and Astros executive adviser Nolan Ryan. A flamethrower himself, Ryan was impressed with Eovaldi when he saw him pitch in-person in 2015, so there is some familiarity. At the same time, signing with Houston would allow the pitcher to rehab in his hometown.