John Harper of the New York Daily News, after talking about how Bartolo Colon and the Angels stymied Alex Rodriguez in the 2005 playoffs by pitching him inside, passes along the Angels’ top-secret plan to contain A-Rod this year:
As a scout from a different AL team said yesterday: “The book on (A-Rod) hasn’t changed over the years. You need to come inside hard, above the hands. That’s where his hole (in his swing) is. If you get his attention in there, then you have a better chance of getting him to chase breaking stuff away.”
I’m reminded of the famous passage in “Ball Four” where Jim Bouton observes that almost every single scouting report for every single hitter is “smoke ’em inside and then get him to chase something away.”
Seems to me that the key thing here isn’t a scouting report, it’s the ability to execute it. A-Rod may have a hole in his swing, but based on his career numbers, not too many people have been able to find it.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.