As of right now, free agent starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi is without a home, in the midst of rehabilitating from a second Tommy John surgery which he underwent in mid-August.
But even though Eovaldi isn’t available to pitch until the 2018 season, the 26-year-old does have a few options at his disposal, one that includes a possible return to New York.
According to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, the organization has reportedly discussed a deal that would bring Eovaldi back to the Yankees during his recovery process, but a slot in the rotation wouldn’t be guaranteed.
“Obviously, he’s a free agent, and we’ve had some discussions with Nate Eovaldi about trying to find a solution that works for both sides,” Cashman told NJ Advance Media. “But he’s still a free agent and there’s competition for him.
“Other than the injury, you couldn’t say enough about him. His makeup’s off the charts. His work ethic was off the charts. He was a performer for us. But, unfortunately, injury hit. But he’s on the free market, and he’s weighing a lot of different decisions. Yes, I’ve talked to (Eovaldi’s agent) Seth Levinson several times regarding him.”
The Yankees’ two-year trial with Eovaldi had a slew of complications. After acquiring him in a trade with the Miami Marlins prior to the 2015 season, Eovaldi went 23-11 with a 4.45 ERA in the Bronx. For his career, Eovaldi owns a record of 38-46 with a 4.21 ERA over six seasons.
His first injury in New York came in September of 2015, when right-elbow inflammation shut him down for the remainder of the year. 11 months later, surgery was required to repair his right elbow and a torn flexor tendon. It was Eovaldi’s first Tommy John surgery since high school.
New York invested in the strikeout potential of Eovaldi, whose average fastball velocity of 97.9 mph unexpectedly didn’t confound hitters. In 279 total innings with the Yankees, Eovaldi earned 218 strikeouts, but allowed 298 hits and 138 runs. He also conceded 23 home runs to opponents in 2016, a career-high.
After struggles with starting, Eovaldi was demoted to the bullpen for a short period to work on mechanics with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.