Carlos Rodon signing his mega-deal with the Yankees leaves Nathan Eovaldi as the best starting pitcher left in free agency. He rejected the qualifying offer from the Red Sox and should now see his market start to pick up with guys like Johnny Cueto, Corey Kluber, and Michael Wacha being the next best options.
Should the Angels pursue the best starting pitcher left on the market?
Eovaldi is a solid pitcher when healthy. He doesn't walk many, throws hard, and eats innings. The problem is, he struggles to stay on the field.
In his 12 seasons, he's made 30+ starts twice. He's thrown enough innings to qualify for the ERA title twice. He's made 20+ starts five times. Simply put, he hasn't stayed on the field.
This past season Eovaldi went 6-3 with a 3.87 ERA in 20 starts and 109.1 innings pitched. He missed a month with lower back inflammation in June and he missed another six weeks in August with right shoulder inflammation. He'd return in September and make two starts.
Eovaldi was coming off of a season where he finished fourth in the AL Cy Young balloting after making 32 starts and pitching to a 3.75 ERA and a 2.79 FIP.
Since undergoing his second Tommy John Surgery, Eovaldi has been a very solid arm posting a 4.08 ERA in 116 appearances (94 starts). That ERA is inflated due to a rough 2019 where he had a 5.99 ERA in what was clearly an outlier. When healthy, he's effective.
Eovaldi will be 33 in February and I'd assume will net a deal similar to the one Chris Bassitt got (3 years $63 million dollars). In addition to that guarantee, Eovaldi would cost draft pick compensation and international bonus money as he rejected the Qualifying Offer. This would be the second player the Angels sign with compensation attached after signing Tyler Anderson. That, also, seems unnecessary.
The Halos do need a sixth starter. Griffin Canning should not be in the Opening Day rotation. However, they can find a more reliable and cheaper option in free agency or via trade. Starting pitching isn't the only need either as the team needs a shortstop and a reliever.
The Angels do not need to spend $20+ million dollars for multiple seasons on a 33-year-old with an extensive injury history when they also have other needs. They should be focused on a cheaper, more reliable option for the rotation and saving enough there to have enough to fill in the other holes on the roster.