Houston Astros Rumors: Signing Nathan Eovaldi is not a risk to take

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 18: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 18: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros are reportedly battling with the Red Sox for the services of Nathan Eovaldi. Here’s why the Astros shouldn’t go after the flamethrower.

The Houston Astros need some starting pitching help this offseason, there’s no secret to that. After the signing of Robinson Chirinos a couple of days ago, it appears the team is ready to go after some top pitchers and potentially a top outfielder.

Patrick Corbin was the first pitching domino to fall this offseason when he signed with the Washington Nationals earlier this week. Corbin was widely regarded as the top pitcher available in free agency this offseason and it earned him a six-year, $140 million, fully guaranteed contract. That’s a massive deal for a pitcher who’s sandwiched a couple good years around some not so good ones.

It was expected that there wouldn’t be much movement on the starting pitching front in free agency until Corbin finally signed and set the market for pitchers this offseason. Now that he’s done and the market is set, expect the rest of the arms to follow along shortly, especially as Winter Meetings approach next week.

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One name that the Houston Astros have been linked to quite frequently is former Red Sox starting pitcher and postseason hero, Nathan Eovaldi. The Astros got to see how good Eovaldi can be up close and personal during the ALCS. Eovaldi, an Alvin, Texas native put on quite the show in front of Astros and Alvin legend Nolan Ryan.

Many believe that this connection to Houston and Ryan would give the Astros and Eovaldi a mutual interest in free agency. It makes sense for the Astros to have interest in Eovaldi as he is one of the leagues most effective flamethrowers. His fastball averages above 97 mph and can top out over 100.

That being said, signing Eovaldi is not a risk the Houston Astros should take this offseason. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy for saying that because we probably watched the same postseason run that saw Eovaldi dominate and become a household name. However, good baseball decisions shouldn’t be based on postseason heroics.

Eovaldi needs to be evaluated from the entirety of his career and the entirety of his statistics. Eovaldi has spent the vast majority of his career injured, including a decent chunk of the 2018 season. Eovaldi has gone under the knife twice for Tommy John surgery. He has only approached 200 innings once, in 2014 when he tossed 199.2 innings.

That 2014 season was also the worst one of his career. He allowed a league-high 223 hits to go along with a 4.37 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. The thing about those numbers is they aren’t even that much higher than his career numbers across the board. He’s a career 4.16 ERA, 1.35 WHIP pitcher that only strikes out 6.8 batters per nine innings, though that number has climbed into the 8 range recently. All this is done on only a little over an average of 120 innings per season.

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Eovaldi has good stuff, don’t get me wrong. However, is and has been a fairly erratic thrower that gives up too many hits and too many runs. Could he have figured all of this out during a 2+ month stint with the Red Sox? Sure, it’s possible but it’s not likely.

The Houston Astros could see him as a middle of the rotation guy with the potential to be a dominant reliever out of the pen come the postseason, just as the Red Sox utilized him. But, with a projected 3 or 4-year deal worth anywhere from $60 to $90 million is entirely too much for a guy that’s only extremely impressive pitching was done in a two-month span in a World Series run.

Jeff Luhnow and the rest of the Astros brass should recognize that the risk and cost vastly outweigh the potential reward here. They should let someone else overpay for Eovaldi and better spend their money elsewhere.

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Eovaldi would be a nice splash signing for the Houston Astros with good name recognition. He wouldn’t be a terrible addition to the rotation but there is too much risk here and the price is too high. This money would be better spent elsewhere.