Fittingly for a team that has relied so heavily on rookie pitchers all season the A’s have picked the youngest starter on the staff, 23-year-old Jarrod Parker, to take the mound in Game 1 of the ALDS against Justin Verlander and the Tigers.
Parker, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks as part of the Trevor Cahill deal in December, threw 181 innings with a 3.47 ERA and 140/63 K/BB ratio while allowing just 11 homers.
Fellow rookie Tommy Milone will get the Game 2 start after the 25-year-old left-hander acquired from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade logged 190 innings with a 3.74 ERA and 137/36 K/BB ratio.
Oakland kicking off its first playoff series since 2006 by relying on a pair of rookie starters acquired in offseason trades for established starters sounds just about right.
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.