Former New York Yankees pitcher Nathan Eovaldi has signed with the Tampa Bay Rays, but did the Yankees make a mistake in setting him free?
On the throes of signing with the Tampa Bay Rays, according to multiple reports, Eovaldi has slipped away from the Yankees. The question is, should they have stuck with him or were they right to let the flamethrower go?
There are two ways to look at it, mostly because there are two different types of Eovaldis. There’s the Eovaldi that nearly threw a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers, then there’s the Eovaldi who gives up four home runs in six innings to the Minnesota Twins.
The problem is, you never know what Eovaldi will step on the mound that day. It’s a Jekyll and Hyde game that the Yankees constantly played during his Bronx tenure.
That game is over, and the Yankees were right to end it.
While Eovaldi showed flashes of pure brilliance, the bad far outweighs the good he brought. His two seasons were so up-and-down that it seems useless to even try anymore.
But he served his purpose with the Yankees. He gave them quality outings some days and struggled other days. However, overall he managed a 23-11 record, including a stellar 14-3 campaign in 2015.
At only 26 years old, Eovaldi is a veteran who throws hard but has some issues with control. Despite those issues, he still averaged seven strikeouts per nine innings. It seems wrong to give up on such a young pitcher who has proven that they can be a contributor to a championship-caliber team.
However, in Eovaldi’s case, it was the right choice on all avenues.
While Eovaldi is still young, he has fallen victim to various injuries in his short career. At the end of the 2016 season, he underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career and is expected to miss the 2017 season in its entirety.
By the time he returns to the mound, he’ll be 28 years old and out of practice. With the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium, the pitcher would be more apt to give up home runs with decreased velocity.
Once he does return to the game, he wouldn’t be guaranteed to be a starting pitcher, especially with the Yankees bringing up some promising pitching prospects. Spring training this year will be focused around who will earn the two remaining starting spots in the rotation, while testing out prospects like James Kaprielian, Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield.
Even if these prospects don’t make the roster in the Bronx this season, they will continue to grow in the system and will likely be breaking into the spotlight in the 2018 season. If Eovaldi returns from his surgery, he would have to fight players that have been continuously improving in the farm system.
In addition, the inconsistency proved to be too much for the Yankees to overcome. That might be a whole lot worse with Eovaldi returning from rough surgery.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ends with Mr. Hyde eventually taking over, taking away all the good from Dr. Jekyll. If that means anything, it probably serves as the right choice to drop Eovaldi before he permanently turns into Mr. Hyde.