With the Blue Jays in need of starting pitching, and Nathan Eovaldi having a monster back half of the 2018 season, could the Blue Jays target the 28 year old righty this winter?
With Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, and Ryan Borucki all close to certainties to be in the 2019 rotation, there’s still two open spots. Sean Reid-Foley and Thomas Pannone are both candidates, but a rotation with Pannone, Reid-Foley, Borucki, Sanchez, and even Stroman, is full of variables and very unpredictable. The Blue Jays front office is most likely looking to bring in a veteran this offseason to bring some reliability and certainty to this young team.
In terms of free agent pitchers available this winter, there’s plenty — J.A. Happ, Dallas Keuchel, Patrick Corbin, Charlie Morton, and the list goes on. One pitcher in particular caught my eye this past season though, and he goes by the name of Nathan Eovaldi, or “Nasty Nate” as he is sometimes referred to.
Eovaldi started 2018 with the Rays, but after Tampa Bay traded him at the deadline for the Red Sox No. 15 prospect Jalen Beeks, Eovaldi went on to have a terrific second half of the season and an even better postseason.
Eovaldi was put on the 10 day disabled list with loose bodies in his right elbow on March 28th this year, and after a couple rehab assignments and a trip to the 60 day DL, he was finally activated off the disabled list on May 30th. With only 10 starts under his belt and a 4.26 ERA as of the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, the right hander was an “under the radar” move at the deadline.
Eovaldi had a good regular season, but he turned super human in the playoffs and was instrumental to the Red Sox World Series win. Appearing in six games in the postseason, Eovaldi had a 1.61 ERA in 22.1 playoff innings. In those six games, the righty allowed only four earned runs.
Perhaps his most memorable game this past postseason came in a loss. After winning the first two games of the fall classic at home, Boston travelled to Dodger Stadium for games three, four, and five. In what was the longest World Series game in history, Nathan Eovaldi had a terrific appearance in relief. Eovaldi, who was supposed to start game four the next day, pitched an absolutely masterful six innings, where he allowed one earned run, walked one, and struck out five. Unfortunately for “Nasty Nate” and the Red Sox, Boston ended up losing that game on an 18th inning walk off home run by Max Muncy.
Eovaldi had his game four start understandably scratched, although it was reported he wanted to start that game, even after tossing six innings the night before.
There are plenty of options available for Toronto this winter if they’re looking to bring in a veteran starting pitcher for a year or two, but they should definitely take a good look at Nathan Eovaldi.