As much of an advantage that it’d seem to be for the Rangers to avoid the Yankees and play the ALDS at home, they’re not taking the final three games especially seriously.
On Monday, they pulled C.J. Wilson after two innings to keep him in line to start Friday’s Game 1, and tonight, they’re giving Michael Young his first start at shortstop in three years.
Young was the AL Gold Glove winner at shortstop in 2008, but the Rangers moved him to third base the next year to make room for Elvis Andrus anyway. This year, Young has started 39 games at third, 36 at first and 14 at second.
The Rangers probably wanted to give Young a game at shortstop just in case they needed him there in the postseason, particularly in the World Series.
With Young at shortstop, Andrus is making his first career start at DH.
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.