A colossal flop as Seattle’s designated hitter, Jack Cust was designated for assignment Friday to make room for Erik Bedard on the roster.
Cust had just three homers and 23 RBI in 225 at-bats for the Mariners. He was getting on base at a .344 clip, but his slugging percentage of .329 was barely above Ichiro’s .323 mark. (Of course, Ichiro’s OBP is just .317, so Cust did have more than 30 points of OPS on him.)
But Cust can’t offer anything defensively, and since he’s managed only 16 homers in 574 at-bats over the last two years, he may have trouble finding work again in the majors. He needs to some legitimate pop in combination with his willingness to take a walk, because with his lack of speed and the occasional mistake on the basepaths, he’s not going to score from first base very often.
Cust’s departure clears the way for the Mariners to give Wily Mo Pena a shot in a week or two. For now, they may shift Mike Carp to the DH spot more frequently, opening up playing time in left field for Greg Halman.
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.