Last year the Nationals snookered the Twins into giving up a stud catching prospect for the most replaceable of all commodities, the Proven Closer. But Matt-Capps for Wilson Ramos was one of those once-in-a-lifetime brain farts, right? Surely Bill Smith and the Twins aren’t going to do something like that again, right?
Maybe! While it was reported yesterday that the Nationals — the Nationals! — were unwilling to trade their closer, Drew Storen, for center fielder Denard Span, Ken Rosenthal reports that talks are still ongoing along those lines. It may be sweeter than a straight swap, however, as Rosenthal says that Roger Bernadina, the career .243/.308/.360 hitter, may be included.
I’ll grant that Storen is better than Capps and that, because he’s injured right now, Span is not at a career high point. But really, if the Nationals are able, for the second straight year, to trade a closer to the Twins for a solid player at a scarce defensive position, the Twins may as well just be disbanded by force or placed in protective custody so that they can do more harm to themselves or others.
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.