One of the more intriguing and enigmatic free agents on this year’s list, Nathan Eovaldi, a standout performer in this year’s playoffs, could be an interesting name to watch.
Of all the free agents exploring their markets this offseason, Nathan Eovaldi is perhaps the most interesting to analyze and predict. Coming off a tremendous bounce-back season in which he pitched to a 3.81 ERA in 111.0 frames (including 22.1 innings of 1.81 ERA ball in the playoffs), he’s considerably raised his stock as a free agent and seems poised to get a decently large contract this winter. The question now is, who will he sign with?
The answer to that question may soon become a little clearer, as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote Friday that the Blue Jays, Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Red Sox, Angels, Padres and Giants are the “early suitors” to sign Eovaldi. Cafardo also notes that Eovaldi would “love to stay in Boston”. Previously, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres were one of the first teams to express early interest in Eovaldi’s services.
Initially, it seems blatantly obvious why the Blue Jays would at least have some level of interest in Eovaldi. The former New York Yankee has shown an incredible amount of resilience and confidence this season and, while he’s one of the riskier arms available, could be worth a lot more than his contract.
MLB Trade Rumors, who annually compiles a list of carefully sculpted free agent predictions, has Eovaldi signing a four-year, $60 million deal to return to Boston. They also have him as their seventh-best free agent, adding that the Yankees, Rangers, Astros, Nationals, Dodgers and Braves could be in the mix. While these lists are purely speculative, they provide a decent basis for predictions and planning.
Still, it seems unlikely that the Jays will compete with the other big bidders on this list to try and land Eovaldi. While he’s an undoubtedly talented arm who could potentially anchor a rotation starved of consistency, the other teams that Cafardo mentioned seem to be closer to competing for a playoff spot.
It still could happen. Even though it’s still early, a more risky arm like Eovaldi could come off the board rather quickly in what Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan describes as a potentially “robust market early”.
As of now, it’s far too early to begin seriously speculating on the nature of the Blue Jays’ interest in free agent pitchers, especially someone of Eovaldi’s calibre. While Ross Atkins has said publicly that the team will be looking to expand their roster of starters, Eovaldi appears to be one of the more revered and expensive assets available this winter, making it hard to imagine them making a serious attempt to sign him.