The Nationals will call up prospect right-hander Nate Karns to start Tuesday against the Orioles, reports Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com. He’ll fill the rotation spot of Ross Detwiler, who has been dealing with a right oblique strain for well over a week and was finally placed on the disabled list yesterday.
Karns only has nine starts above the High-A level, so facing the powerful Orioles’ lineup will be a big test, but the Nationals are willing to roll the dice with him rather than give another start to Zach Duke. Meanwhile, Chris Young has really struggled at Triple-A and Ross Ohlendorf just pitched for the Chiefs on Saturday and would be on short rest for the assignment.
Shoulder problems caused Karns to drop to the 12th round back in 2009, but he owns a 2.70 ERA and 262 strikeouts over 216 1/3 innings in the minors. After being named the Nationals’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2012, the 25-year-old owns a 4.60 ERA and 55/18 K/BB ratio in 45 innings across nine starts in Double-A this season. While he has averaged 4.1 BB/9 in the minors, he has shown improved control as he has worked his way up the organizational ladder.
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.