With Ubaldo Jimenez off the board, Ervin Santana is the last big name starting pitcher available in free agency. Maybe not for much longer, though.
Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Orioles, Rangers, and a mystery team from the NL West team are very interested in free agent right-hander Ervin Santana. And while Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos continues to downplay the possibility, Rojas isn’t ready to rule out Toronto just yet.
The Rangers make sense as a possibility given Derek Holland’s knee injury and Matt Harrison’s continued back issues. The Orioles are already prepared to give up their first- and second-round picks for Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz, so they’d surrender a third-round pick if they also sign Santana. Talk about going for broke. As for who the mystery NL West team could be, you can never rule out the Dodgers. The Rockies have the biggest need among the other teams in the division, though Santana would seem to be a poor fit for Coors Field.
Santana, 31, had a 3.24 ERA and 161/51 K/BB ratio over 211 innings with the Royals last season.
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.