Angels starter Garrett Richards was diagnosed with a damaged ulnar collateral ligament on Wednesday, a day after an abrupt exit from a start against the Mariners. MLB.com’s Maria Guardado reports that Richards will undergo Tommy John surgery. That will certainly end his 2018 season and will keep him out for most, if not all of the 2019 season as well.
Richards, 30, compiled a 3.66 ERA with 87 strikeouts and 34 walks in 76 1/3 innings across 16 starts for the Angels this season. The right-hander has had trouble staying healthy in recent years, accruing only six starts in each of the 2016 and ’17 seasons.
Richards is a free agent after the completion of this season, so the timing isn’t so great for him. Once he’s recovered from Tommy John surgery, Richards may have to take an incentive-laden major league contract or even a minor league deal.
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.