Nathan Eovaldi picked a great time to boost his value with his performance thus far in the 2018 playoffs. The right-handed pitcher is a pending free agent and could be of great interest to the San Diego Padres, who could use his services in 2019 and beyond.
The 2018 San Diego Padres had, without a doubt, one of the worst starting rotations in all of baseball. The Padres’ starters had a 5.09 ERA (fourth highest in all of baseball) and a batting average against of .275 (third highest in all of baseball). While the team’s bullpen was dominant, the Padres’ starting rotation was downright terrible and constantly put the team in poor position to win.
Fortunately, for the team and our fans, the Padres have a plethora of pitching talent in the minor leagues. With some of the best pitching prospects in the game, the future of the Padres’ rotation certainly looks bright. For the time being, however, the team needs to improve their biggest weakness: starting pitching.
It is unlikely that A.J. Preller and company actually make a push for a quality starting pitcher this offseason. With the young talent making its way to the majors, and the talent already with the Padres, Preller may look to spend his money elsewhere, or not at all. However, there is one pitcher on the market that the Padres should at least look into.
Once considered to be an elite pitching prospect, Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi is now competing for a chance to win a World Series. Coming off of Tommy John surgery, Eovaldi was acquired by the Red Sox from the Tampa Bay Rays via trade this July.
Since his arrival to Boston, Eovaldi was a solid contributor, posting a 3-3 record in 11 starts with a 3.33 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP, and 54 strikeouts. He also gave the Red Sox another solid starter going into the postseason, something that one of the best teams in baseball desperately needed. This winter, Eovaldi will become a free agent, and although the Red Sox may make a push to retain him, the Padres should definitely reach out to the Texas native.
For starters, Eovaldi will only be 29 years old when the 2019 season kicks off. Yes, he’s already had Tommy John surgery, but he has powered through all of that as Eovaldi still has some of the most electric stuff in the league from a starting pitcher. Amongst all qualified starters, Eovaldi’s average fastball velocity, 97.1 mph, is the highest in the league. He consistently touches triple digits with his fastball, has an above-average curveball/slider combination, and also has a nasty cutter, as seen in this video:
Nathan Eovaldi, Unfair 96mph Cutter. 😯 pic.twitter.com/vH2rgJFfuB
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 16, 2018
Adding Eovaldi to the rotation would instantly make the Padres better. Instead of having Clayton Richard as our opening day starter, a solid pitcher like Eovaldi could slide right in and get the job done. From a financial standpoint, Eovaldi would probably not cause too much damage to the Padres’ checkbook. He may be looking to sign a one or two-year “prove it” deal, which would fit perfectly into the Padres’ plans. The team could sign Eovaldi for a reasonable price, and if he does not perform, trade him away for a prospect or let him go. Eovaldi’s stuff plays so well that if he flails out as a starter, his fastball velocity is so high that a transition to the bullpen would likely be a smooth one.
When it comes to signing Nathan Eovaldi, the positives outweigh the negatives for the Padres. Eovaldi’s a quality starting pitcher that would instantly bolster a starting rotation which needs pitching badly. Although it may not necessarily happen, the San Diego Padres should certainly look into signing Nathan Eovaldi this offseason.