The Rangers have added another rotation. They apparently agree Nathan Eovaldi Two-year contract with eligibility/player option for 2025 campaign. ACES customers will be paid $16 million in each of the next two seasons, and the option will be purchased for at least $2 million. If Eovaldi throws 300 combined innings in 2023-24, the option is worth $20 million. If Eovaldi reaches all of his innings-based bonuses, a deal worth $63 million over three seasons is in the works.
Eovaldi spent the last four seasons with the Red Sox. Boston first acquired the rights from the Rays at the 2018 trade deadline and added an impending free agent for the playoffs. Eovaldi was excellent in 12 regular season games before adding a 1.61 ERA in 22 1/3 innings in the postseason. At the end of the year, Boston rewarded him with a four-year, $68 million free agent contract for his finishing.
Eovaldi posted a 2019 ERA before 6:00 a.m. The first year of the deal was shaky, and he missed some games this season with an elbow strain. He righted the ship in his second season, posting a 3.72 ERA in nine outings during the strike-shortened 2020 campaign.
Eovaldi had the best full season of his career in 2021. He made all 32 starts and posted a 3.75 ERA in 182 1/3 innings, striking out 25.5% of opponents with a 4.6% walk rate. That performance earned him his first career All-Star selection and a fourth-place finish in AL Cy Young voting.
Unfortunately, injury problems returned in 2022. Eovaldi missed his final season in Boston due to several injuries. He missed time between June and July with back inflammation and missed most of August and September with shoulder inflammation. A pair of injuries kept him to 20 starts and 109 1/3 frames, but his production was close to his career norm.
Eovaldi managed a 3.87 ERA and struck out a slightly above average 22.4% of the hitters he faced. He walked 4.3% of his opponents and struck out 47% of the batters he gave up. Eovaldi isn’t the wild card in his 2021 No. 4 Cy Young bid, but his mid-rotation arm is above average when healthy.
This production doesn’t pan out as expected given Eovaldi’s arsenal of power. He’s one of the hardest hitters in the game, averaging north of 97 mph for most of his career. However, he never posted the elite strikeout rate usually associated with that speed. Eovaldi’s best attribute is his ability to pound the strike zone. He has walked fewer than 5 percent of opponents in each of the past three years; Since the start of 2020, his overall walk rate of 4.4% is the second-highest among 120 pitchers with 200+ frames (behind only the 4.3% mark). Clayton Kershaw).
Eovaldi’s willingness to attack the zone sometimes leads to problems at home. He has allowed homers at an above-average clip in three of the past four years, including 1.73 homers per nine innings last season. That’s the only red flag in Eovaldi’s recent success story, but his health and age are likely to give some teams pause. He’ll turn 33 in February, making him one of the older options in a deep middle-of-the-rotation class available in free agency.
In addition to this year’s shoulder and back problems, he also has a history of elbow pain. Eovaldi underwent Tommy John surgery while in high school and then sat out the 2017 campaign after undergoing a second surgery in August 2016. No IL stints were required due to the aforementioned 2019 body weakness due to the elbow. Last season’s back and shoulder injuries may have been a more pressing issue, as Eovaldi’s fastball average dropped from 96-97 mph early in the season to 94 mph after his first IL.
These injuries seemed to pressure Eovaldi’s market. Chris Bassitt A three-year, $63 million deal pleased players entering his age-34 campaign Jameson Taillon and Taijuan Walker Despite a less consistent performance than Eovaldi’s, he signed a strong four-year deal. Most of this offseason’s free agents have signed stronger than expected, but Eovaldi’s confirmation is right in line with MLBTR’s early season predictions.
Even Eovaldi’s camp was working against a qualified proposal. He waived QO from Boston earlier in the winter and tied the team to a draft compensation signing. That was the case for Bassitt, but not for Walker and Taillon.
Texas doesn’t worry too much about losing draft picks to add quality talent through free agency. They gave him two options to sign Corey Seeger and Marcus Semien Last winter, they will do it again this season. The Rangers have already lost a draft pick to sign Jacob deGrom enter into a five-year contract. This will reduce the price they pay for Eovaldi. Texas gave up $500,000 in international signing bonus space to add deGrom, giving up their second-round pick in the 2023 draft. They will put another $500,000 in signing bonus room third highest Choose Eovaldi.
The Rangers completely overhauled their starting lineup this winter after Seager and Semien made headlines last offseason to bolster their lineup. Texas bought Jake Odorizzi From the brave within the first few days. Left handed Martin Perez received a qualifying offer soon after, but that didn’t slow down Texans GM Chris Young and his front office. They landed deGrom in the biggest pitching contract of the offseason since free agency opened. Andrew Heaney and Eovaldi with a two-year warranty.
Eovaldi has added another mid-rotation caliber starter. deGrom staff title, reserved John Gray, Eovaldi, Perez, and Heaney. Odorizzi and Dane Dunning While there’s plenty of injury uncertainty, it’s clear that most of the top-five prospects won’t take a leg off Texas getting outside help.
Owner Ray Davis and the front office weren’t too fussed about the spending. With Eovaldi’s $16 million salary on the books for next year, their projected salary is roughly $196 million, according to Roster Resource. That would easily top the organization’s previous Opening Day mark of $165 million, a franchise record. The average annual contract value of $17 million brings their competitive balance tax number to Roster Resource about $220 million, $13 million shy of next year’s base tax threshold of $233 million.
The heavy lifting of the rotation appears to be over, but it is known that Texas is looking for ways to improve the corner outfield. If the team prefers to stay under the CBT tag, a mid-level free agent is a possibility, but Davis could cross that threshold. As both the Rangers and Angels try to close the gap on the Astros and Mariners in the AL West, the franchise’s prowess this winter as they look to challenge for the playoffs in 2023 backs up their claims.
It’s another free agent departure for the Red Sox, which has seen several notable players go elsewhere. Eovaldi and Xander Bogaerts each left after rejecting a qualifying offer. Boston gets compensation for both, but it’s the least of them. The Red Sox narrowly missed the CBT threshold in 2022, but it didn’t pay off as the club stumbled to last place. They only receive bonus picks after the fourth round of next year’s draft.
Robert Murray of FanSided It was first reported that Rangers and Eovaldi had reached an agreement. Evan Grant of Dallas Morning News A two-year deal with options, as well as a specific financial breakdown, was first reported. ESPN’s Jeff Passan The first was $34 million guaranteed, and the third-year option was rights/player guarantees, as well feature of choice.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.