Rangers To Sign Nathan Eovaldi

6:09pm: The deal guarantees $34MM, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN (Twitter link). He can vest a player option for a third year.

6:08pm: It’s a two-year guarantee with an option for a third season, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter).

5:50pm: The Rangers are in agreement with free agent starter Nathan Eovaldi, reports Robert Murray of FanSided (Twitter link). The deal is pending a physical.

Eovaldi has spent the past four-plus seasons with the Red Sox. Boston first acquired the righty from the Rays at the 2018 trade deadline, adding the impending free agent for their playoff push. Eovaldi was excellent in 12 regular season appearances down the stretch, then added 22 1/3 innings of 1.61 ERA ball in the postseason. At year’s end, Boston rewarded him for his great finish with a four-year, $68MM free agent deal.

That contract looked shaky in year one, as Eovaldi posted an ERA just south of 6.00 in 2019 — a season in which he missed a notable chunk of action due to elbow issues. He righted the ship in the second season of the deal, though, posting a 3.72 ERA through nine outings during the shortened 2020 campaign.

Eovaldi followed up with maybe the best full campaign of his career in 2021. He made all 32 starts and posted a 3.75 ERA through 182 1/3 innings, striking out 25.5% of opponents against a 4.6% walk rate. That showing earned his first career All-Star selection, as well as a fourth place finish in AL Cy Young award balloting.

Unfortunately, injury issues cropped back up again in 2022. Eovaldi missed chunks of what proved to be his final season in Boston due to a pair of injured list stints. He lost time between June and July with lower back inflammation and missed most of August and September thanks to inflammation in his throwing shoulder. The pair of injuries kept him to 20 starts and 109 1/3 frames, although his production on a rate basis was around what we’ve come to expect.

Eovaldi managed a 3.87 ERA, striking out a slightly above-average 22.4% of opposing hitters. He walked a minuscule 4.3% of opponents while inducing grounders on 47% of batted balls he surrendered. Eovaldi isn’t the ace his 2021 fourth-place Cy Young finish might suggest, but he’s an above-average mid-rotation arm when healthy.

Texas has thoroughly overhauled its starting staff this winter. Shortly after the offseason began, Texas acquired Jake Odorizzi from the Braves. Left-hander Martín Pérez accepted a qualifying offer, but that didn’t slow down Texas GM Chris Young or his front office. Since free agency opened, they’ve nabbed Jacob deGrom on the largest pitching contract of the offseason and brought in Andrew Heaney and Eovaldi.

Eovaldi adds another mid-rotation caliber starter to what now looks like a potentially fearsome Rangers rotation. deGrom headlines the staff, backed up by Jon Gray, Eovaldi, Pérez and Heaney. Odorizzi and Dane Dunning seem as if they’ll be pushed into depth roles, though there’s enough injury uncertainty with most of the top five it’s understandable Texas wouldn’t take its foot off the gas in pursuing outside help.

More to come.

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