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San Francisco Giants: Assessing Nathan Eovaldi as a FA Starting Pitching Option

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 18: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 18, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 18: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 18, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi is expected to have a wide market in free agency, we’ll see if that market includes the San Francisco Giants.

After He dazzled in the playoffs and demonstrated that he is healthy in his return from Tommy John surgery, Nathan Eovaldi became very popular on the free agent market. The list of teams reportedly interested include the San Francisco Giants.

Eovaldi completed 111 innings with a 3.81 ERA, while splitting time with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox in 2018. Additionally, has posted a 1.61 ERA in 22.1 innings during the playoffs — performances like that will get you paid.

The fact that so many teams appear to be involved suggests that this could turn into a bidding war. And, why not? Eovaldi is still a young pitcher. Plus, he showed that he still has the type of arm to be a mid-rotation starter.

Additionally, teams may feel that he might be a bargain given his still limited track record. He has only pitched over 150 innings in a season twice.

Teams still want pitchers who can soak up a lot of innings, even if the days of pitching over 200 innings appear to be numbered.

With so many teams involved, would Eovaldi be a good idea for the San Francisco Giants? Of course, but his arm does carry a big, big red flag.

Eovaldi has had two Tommy John surgeries. The first one came in college, whereas the second one came in 2016. The list of Major League pitchers who have had this surgery performed more than once include Daniel Hudson, Jarrod Parker, Kris Medlen, Josh Johnson, Brandon Beachy, Jonny Venters, Eovaldi, Brian Wilson, and Cory Luebke.

Each pitcher from that list once had a promising career — most are continuing their career. However, Jarrod Parker and Josh Johnson never returned to Major League action following their second procedure. Listed below are the statistics of the pitchers since their second Tommy John operation:

Eovaldi might already be the most impressive pitcher on this list. That could be encouraging news for pitchers who will need multiple Tommy John operations in their career. Perhaps, the rehab process is improving.

However, each pitcher from this list, excluding Eovaldi and Venters, has seen their performance fall off relative to where they were previously.

Additionally, everyone with the exception of Eovaldi pitched exclusively from the bullpen. The durability does not seem to return. Now, Eovaldi’s best bet might be to become a full-time reliever. But, teams will want him as a starting pitcher this winter, and he will likely get paid more as a starter.

However, despite the results, the elbow concern still remains. Eovaldi will likely receive a significant contract this winter. With two Tommy John Surgeries on his resume, he may be one elbow tinge away from having career-ending surgery.

Following a second operation, pitchers average less than three years at the Major League level. Eovaldi will likely receive a significant, multi-year contract this winter. The San Francisco Giants seem likely to target starting pitching.

However, the evidence suggests he may need to be a reliever in the near future. Questions about his durability will always remain. And, his performance, which looked great in the postseason, might very well be an outlier.

Next. San Francisco Giants: The Future for Pitcher Tyler Beede

There are significant concerns with Eovaldi. He is very talented, but the San Francisco Giants have a lot of payroll issues as is, and could add to this problem if they make a significant investment in Eovaldi.

The history has not been kind to a player with multiple Tommy John operations. The best course of action for the Giants might be to look at other options to improve their rotation.

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