Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Royals have signed pitcher Brandon Finnegan at slot value, $2,200,600. The Royals took the lefty in the first round of the MLB first-year player draft, 17th overall. He’ll debut for Single-A Wilmington in July.
Finnegan, 21, played three years at Texas Christian University, posting a 2.04 ERA with 134 strikeouts in 105 2/3 innings, helping the Horned Frogs to an appearance in the College World Series. While Finnegan was highly ranked going into the draft — anywhere from 15th to 25th depending on who you read — some question his size and durability. Some surmise Finnegan may have a future as a reliever.
Outfielder Brandon Downes, taken in the seventh round, was also signed to a deal on Friday, worth $150,000. Downes tweeted a picture of him signing the contract. The Royals have now agreed to contracts with their first 20 picks in the 2014 draft.
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.