Nathan Eovaldi’s struggles have become a prominent issue for the New York Yankees, who have a decision to make regarding a valuable piece steering himself in the wrong direction.
However, great arms do not always result in great pitching and great numbers. The 26-year-old is a direct example of that principle.
His average fastball velocity of 97.8 mph pops out at you, his consistent poise is noted, and the strides he has made with his splitter deserve praise.
He possesses the tools to be an effective front-end starting pitcher. Proof came in the second half of last year and the first month and a half of this year. With electrifying stuff, he was going to be a staple.
The problem remaining with Eovaldi is the big picture. With the inclusion of last year’s first half and his last five starts, the inconsistency he cannot rid himself of flares up.
Sure, even top starters have rough spells, but it does not get this ugly. With the bar set as high as it is, a five start stretch that features an 0-3 record, a 8.65 ERA, and 10 homers allowed is simply unacceptable.
The splitter is not where it needs to be, focus is lost when things start to unravel, and crooked numbers end up hampering the scoreboard.
With that being said, the potential is known throughout baseball. Most teams would give a lot for a guy who can unleash upper-90s throughout a seven inning start with relative effectiveness. In this year’s market, big league teams are looking to wheel in back end of the rotation guys to boost their staff.
Eovaldi provides more than that. Amidst his inconsistencies and uncertainties, he is still a man who wins games and can be a formidable option on most pitching staffs throughout baseball. Teams will buy high on the flame-thrower.
Would his departure necessarily hurt the Yankees? No.
There are trades that signify a rebuild and trades that represent improvement and chance. It is known that the ultimate goal of the organization is to see what they have for years to come without tremendously sacrificing the win column.
What they need to see is Luis Severino. Dealing a middle of the rotation arm for value, particularly big league talent, can be crucial. Severino can slide in, prove his early struggles were a fluke, and the Yankees would benefit from potentially having chips to be utilized a year or two down the road.
What is seen with Eovaldi is a winner, and additionally a guy who may be one or two adjustments away from taking that next step. The Yankees may not see it given all the time they have spent on him, but that is certainly not the way they will sell him.
Any team with a reputable pitching coach as far as extracting talent will roll the dice on a youngster that not only throws hard but has shown flashes of brilliance with secondary offerings.
He may eventually get there, but that is a risk the Yankees have to take. To acquire him prior to 2015 they had to part with Martin Prado and David Phelps. That is how high the Miami Marlins were selling a guy who was not had not nearly developed into a true pitcher.
Now he is almost there.
If the Yankees can get a return similar with the talent level of a Prado and a Phelps, they will make the move everyday of the week. They would be even more open to it if the return resembled players who are big league ready, or even big league proven.
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Receiving help in 2016 while seeing what is in store for 2017 and beyond will be the name of the game for the Yanks at the deadline. Eovaldi can easily prove to be a classic case of addition by subtraction.
Plenty of organizations will be hunting for an arm that can run off a brief string of excellence and potentially put them over the top.
Believe it or not, a guy in the doldrums right now is the perfect candidate given his track record. A track record that includes large sample sizes of experience in the American League and National League.
With that said, do not be surprised at all if teams inquire about Eovaldi, the Yankees listen, and they listen with eagerly vacated ears.