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D.J. Short

Offseason Lowdown

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Lowdown: Nate Does Great

Friday, December 7, 2018


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On the heels of playing hero during the postseason, Nathan Eovaldi is staying put with the Red Sox. The 2018 World Series champions made it official Thursday with the announcement of a four-year, $68 million contract.

Eovaldi is expected to receive $17 million annually in the new pact, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. It’s a just reward after a strong showing in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. Eovaldi made his season debut with the Rays in late May and turned in a 4.26 ERA and 53/8 K/BB ratio in 57 innings over 10 starts before being dealt to the Red Sox before July’s non-waiver trade deadline. He posted a 3.33 ERA and 48/12 K/BB ratio over 54 innings down the stretch for Boston before putting up a free agent stock-boosting 1.61 ERA and 16/3 K/BB ratio over two starts and four relief appearances during the team’s World Series run.

The big question is what we can expect from Eovaldi moving forward. While the hard-throwing right-hander has always been intriguing, results have been mixed. He entered this season with a 4.21 ERA (94 ERA+) in the big leagues, with underwhelming strikeout totals to boot. He has topped 30 starts just once in his career.

There’s risk here — Eovaldi has had Tommy John surgery twice in his career — but he doesn’t turn 29 until February and we can’t ignore the progress with his cutter this past season. Maybe he’s just getting started? Red Sox fans aren’t going to complain that he’ll be back to join Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez as they make a run at defending their title.

Patrick Corbin landed a reported six-year, $140 million deal with the Nationals earlier this week, so two of the top-tier free agent starters are already off the board. Dallas Keuchel, J.A. Happ, and Charlie Morton represent the best the market still has to offer.

Cookie Dough

The Indians might be listening to trade offers on Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, but right-hander Carlos Carrasco isn’t going anywhere. It was announced Thursday that the two sides agreed to an extension through 2022 with a club option for 2023.

Carrasco already had his $9.75 million club option for 2019 picked up by Cleveland at the end of October, but the extension includes $37.25 million in new guaranteed money. That’ll buy a lot of cookies. Carrasco previously signed an extension with the Indians in 2015 which included a $10.25 million club option for 2020. That salary is guaranteed in the new deal and includes $12 million annually in 2021 and 2022. The club option for 2023 is worth $14 million and carries a $3 million buyout. Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal reported the contract details.

There’s the obvious caveat about health, but the Indians have to be thrilled that they have locked in one of the league’s best pitchers at this price. Carrasco, who turns 32 in March, owns a 3.27 ERA over the last five seasons. He’s made at least 30 starts in three out of the last four seasons. Only seven pitchers (min. 800 IP) have a higher strikeout percentage in that time while only nine have a lower walk percentage.

Twins Scoop up Schoop

Jonathan Schoop was non-tendered by the Brewers last Friday, but it didn’t take him long to find a new home, as it was announced Thursday that he signed a one-year deal with the Twins. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the deal is worth $7.5 million and includes incentives.

Schoop broke out with 32 homers and an .841 OPS in 2017, but his production dropped off a cliff this season. An oblique injury in April probably didn’t help matters, but he was batting just .197 with a .587 OPS through his first 61 games with the Orioles this season before catching fire in July. That was enough for the Brewers to take a shot on him at the trade deadline, but Schoop scuffled with a .202/.246/.331 batting line over 46 games down the stretch and was limited to just eight plate appearances during the Brewers’ postseason run.

It ultimately wasn’t much of a surprise to see the Brewers cut ties with Schoop last week rather than pay him a raise in arbitration from his $8.5 million salary from 2018. There are obvious flaws with his approach, but the 27-year-old Schoop brings plenty of pop to the table and plays a solid second base. There’s not much harm in a one-year deal. Schoop is obviously aiming for a rebound in hopes of landing a lucrative multi-year deal next offseason.

The Twins further bolstered their middle infield situation Thursday by signing Ronald Torreyes to a one-year contract. Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports hears that it’s worth $800,000 if he’s on the major league roster.

Torreyes was non-tendered by the Cubs last week just days after being acquired from the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The 26-year-old is a .281/.310/.375 hitter over 229 games in the majors and has extensive experience between second base, shortstop, and third base.

Quick Hits: Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein revealed Thursday that Brandon Morrow underwent an arthroscopic debridement on his right elbow last month and will likely get a late start on the 2019 season … According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, J.A. Happ is now the Yankees’ top pitching target … Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Thursday that Yu Darvish (elbow) is a couple of weeks away from throwing … Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have had discussions with free agent right-hander Charlie Morton … The Astros finalized their one-year deal with catcher Robinson Chirinos … Rustin Dodd of The Athletic reports that the Royals are “looking hard” at free agent outfielder Billy Hamilton, who was non-tendered by the Reds last week … The Phillies acquired left-hander Jose Alvarez from the Angels for right-hander Luis Garcia … Former Mariners hurler Hisashi Iwakuma has signed with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan … Joe Wieland has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Kia Tigers in the Korea Baseball Organization … The Angels signed outfielder Jarrett Parker to a minor league contract … Scott Boras confirmed Thursday that his client, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, intends to be in spring training with the Athletics … The Braves have officially hired Rick Kranitz as their pitching coach …



D.J. Short is a Rotoworld senior baseball writer and hosts the Rotoworld Baseball Podcast. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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