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OC Register: Angels Offseason Options: RHP Nathan Eovaldi


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(This is the latest in a series of quick profiles on players who fit for the Angels to add over the winter. They are purely “informed speculation,” based on what we know about the Angels’ roster needs along with General Manager Billy Eppler’s preferences and history. We’ll have a new one every weekday, until the GM Meetings, which are the unofficial start of the hot stove season.)

NATHAN EOVALDI, RHP, Boston Red Sox

The basics: Eovaldi missed a season and a half recovering from Tommy John surgery. He came back in May with the Tampa Bay Rays, who traded him to the Boston Red Sox. Next year will be his age 29 season.

2018 season: He posted a 3.81 ERA over 111 and 21 starts between the two teams, with 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings. In his first playoff start, he gave up one run in seven innings against the New York Yankees.

Contact status: Free agent

Why he makes sense: Eppler likes pitchers who throw hard, and Eovaldi averaged 97.5 mph with his fastball this year. He even hit 100 mph in his first playoff start. This season Eovaldi struck out 101 and walked just 20, numbers that suggest he could have performed even better. Eovaldi was acquired by the Yankees in December 2014, when Eppler was the assistant general manager in New York. The Angels need healthy pitchers, and Eovaldi is just back from Tommy John surgery, so his ulnar collateral ligament is relatively fresh. This was his first season after surgery, so it’s logical to assume he’ll be even better next year. If the market values him for his career 4.16 ERA, rather than what he did this year, he could prove to be a bargain. Maybe three years, $33 million?

Why he doesn’t: Eovaldi is still a gamble. He’s coming off his best season, and it was still only two-thirds of a season. If he’s expecting to cash in on this year’s success, without regard to the track record prior to this year, he could be looking for more money or years than the Angels are willing to spend for a pitcher of his caliber.

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