The Tampa Bay Rays continue to add to their roster by agreeing to terms with Nathan Eovaldi, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. It is a one-year deal worth $2 mil with a club option for 2018. His option will most likely be exercised after the 2017 season, if the Rays think he made great strides in his recovery.
Now, the Rays know what they are getting into in this type of move, as Eovaldi is going to miss the whole 2017 season after getting hurt last year that required him to get Tommy John surgery. This is a similar type move that the Rays did with Juan Carlos Oviedo (famously known as Leo Nunez).
Hopefully the 27-year-old right-handed pitcher recovers from his second Tommy John surgery in his career. His first one came as an amateur.
His value to the Rays would increase as a reliever over as starter. The Rays have tons of young starters coming up through the farm system, which is why Eovaldi in the bullpen makes more sense, plus Eovaldi is more effective in one to two innings than five as a starter. He throws a 97 mph fastball that can reach double digits and two solid breaking balls in an effective splitter and curveball with an up and down slider.
Former Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira praises Eovaldi’s potential and pitch offering by saying “They’re swinging at pitches in the dirt, they’re swinging at pitches over their heads, because it’s just an uncomfortable at-bat. He’s got No. 1 stuff. I think that’s one thing that we’ve all seen. A guy that throws 97 to 100 miles an hour with a good splitter, a good curveball — that’s No. 1 stuff.”
Finally, if he puts it all together, he could be a big boost to the Rays in 2018.
2016 MLB Stats: career-best 9.3% swinging-strike rate, 49.6% ground-ball mark, 4.76 ERA, 124 2/3 innings frames, 9-8 record, 97 strikeouts.