Nathan Eovaldi helped the Red Sox win a World Series title this year, but he could be back in pinstripes when the 2019 season begins.
Brian Cashman’s first priority in free agency will be to bolster the Yankees pitching staff. Making a free agency move or two will certainly be part of the plan. Don’t be at all surprised to see the Yankees investigate the possibility of bringing Nathan Eovaldi back to the Bronx.
The Yankees have several good reasons to pursue the 28-year-old right-hander. The most obvious motivation is that Eovaldi will be one of the top pitchers on the free agent market. He may be the most coveted starter on the open market. His history of Tommy John surgeries will suppress his market a little bit, but the fact that he threw 111 innings with an ERA of 3.81 this season will cause general managers to overlook the medicals.
Eovaldi is also a pitcher who can clearly come up big in high-pressure situations. He was excellent for Boston during the postseason. He’s also already familiar with the trials and tribulations of pitching for the Yankees. He might return to the team with higher expectations than he endured previously, but it won’t be an entirely new pressure cooker for him. Eovaldi wouldn’t turn into another Sonny Gray type problem for Cashman and company.
The other big reason the Yankees have for chasing Eovaldi is a bit more nefarious. The team is keenly aware that Boston would like to bring him back to Beantown for the smallest contract possible. The Yankees aren’t going to allow them to re-sign Eovaldi for anything less than top dollar. Even if Cashman isn’t ready to make the hard thrower one of his top free agent targets, he’s got plenty of financial motivation to stay in the race.
Add all of it up and it’s pretty clear that the Yankees will at least make a run at bringing Eovaldi back into the fold. No one should really expect him to end up back in New York, but stranger things have certainly happened. At the very least, look for the team to be strongly linked with Eovaldi before he puts a pen to paper this winter. The Yankees have too many good reasons to pursue such a talented pitcher.