Nathan Eovaldi helped the Boston Red Sox win a World Series title this year, but it’s very possible he’ll return to the Bronx in 2019.
Adding James Paxton was a big boost for the Yankees rotation, but Brian Cashman’s work isn’t done. There is still at least one more spot in the starting rotation to fill this offseason. Most people believe it will ultimately go to either Patrick Corbin or J.A. Happ, but it would be a mistake to think Nathan Eovaldi isn’t in the running.
Recent reports from Dan Federico claim the Yankees see Eovaldi as a pitcher who can “fill out their rotation.” That doesn’t mean Cashman is ready to prioritize him over Corbin and Happ, but it does make it obvious Eovaldi is under consideration.
One advantage Eovaldi has over Corbin is his comfort level pitching in New York. His first tour of duty with the Yankees wasn’t great, but it didn’t have anything to do with his ability to handle the spotlight. Instead, injuries are what caused Cashman and company to give up on Eovaldi before he resurrected his career in Tampa Bay.
It’s safe to assume that the Yankees are still considering a number of options at this point in the offseason. Lots of teams are talking to free agents, but not very many firm financial offers have been conveyed. The simple truth is guys like Eovaldi, Happ and Corbin still don’t know exactly how much they’re worth on the open market.
The Yankees don’t know how much it might cost to sign them either. That’s why Cashman is working diligently to keep in touch with a variety of options. He can’t afford to ignore Eovaldi and then watch bidding wars for Corbin and Happ get out of hand.
Despite his postseason success, Eovaldi will likely be the cheapest of those three options to secure. That doesn’t necessarily make him the best option for the Yankees, but he could be the only hurler in their price range if they spend big on a position player like Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.
The reality of free agency for the Yankees is that it’s still way too early for Cashman to zero in on a small group of targets. This team still has too many holes to fill to really narrow their focus. Money could be spent in a lot of different ways. It’s unlikely the Yankees will select Eovaldi over Corbin and Happ in a vacuum, but they may find him to be their best bargain when the dust of free agency finally settles.