Angels want Andrew Friedman, but the feeling might not be mutual

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Rays general manager Andrew Friedman was spotted last week having dinner with Angels owner Arte Moreno and Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that he’s their No. 1 target to replace Tony Reagins, but there’s plenty of doubt about whether Friedman actually wants the job.

In fact, according to DiGiovanna’s sources “their chances of luring the 34-year-old executive away from the Rays are slim” and “Friedman’s loyalty to Tampa Bay owner Stuart Sternberg … appears to be the biggest obstacle to the Angels luring him to Anaheim.”

DiGiovanna reports that the Angels would offer Friedman the role of team president, allowing him to choose a GM to work under him much like Theo Epstein is doing with the Cubs. And he’d also have more than triple the payroll to work with, as the Rays spent $42 million players this year compared to $142 million by the Angels.

Either he’s holding out for a better job–of which there realistically aren’t a ton, given the Angels’ annual payroll rankings–or Friedman truly loves Tampa Bay.

Nathan Eovaldi to make 2018 debut for Rays soon

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Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.

Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.

When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.

The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.