Back in June, we learned that the Royals were considering signing embattled pitcher Luke Heimlich. Heimlich is a registered sex offender who pleaded guilty to a felony charge of molesting his then-six-year-old niece back when he was 15 years-old. Heimlich went undrafted.
Per Tom Martin of KCTV5, Royals GM Dayton Moore said on Thursday, “That whole debate which dominated the news cycle… we simply weren’t gonna let the world continue to kick that kid because we know who he is.” Moore wouldn’t say if the team plans to sign him, but added, “Do we believe in him as a pitcher and a person? Dayton Moore does.”
Moore is very outspoken about his Christian beliefs. He helped organize an anti-porn seminar for his players in March. Moore presumably sees a sinner who can be redeemed.
There was pushback when Moore expressed interest in June. Hopefully there’s just as much or more pushback now that he’s openly considering Heimlich again. No other baseball executive has expressed interest in Heimlich, so Moore is out on his own on this one.
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.