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Report: Rays close to signing Nathan Eovaldi

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Free agent right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is nearing a major league deal with the Rays, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The contract is said to include an option for 2018, which, in Eovaldi’s case, is crucial. The 26-year-old underwent his second Tommy John surgery and an additional flexor tendon surgery last August and will be not be eligible to start in 2017, though Topkin predicts that he’ll be ready to return to the mound in advance of the 2018 season.

The veteran righty was released by the Yankees in November after completing his second circuit with the team in 2016. He delivered a 4.76 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 7.0 SO/9 over 124 2/3 innings, and while his fastball velocity hit an all-time high, his performance was overshadowed by career-worst home run totals and an underwhelming strikeout rate.

The deal has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord

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John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.

The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.

Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.

The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.

Report: Rays acquire Lucas Duda from the Mets

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.

Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.