Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Rumors: Nathan Eovaldi

Jul 1, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (30) pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 1, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (30) pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

According to Rob Biertempfel, the Pittsburgh Pirates have talked to the New York Yankees about right-handed pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.

Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is now just 16 days away. As the deadline nears, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in dire need of pitching help. Both the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation and bullpen could use a boost.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have already been linked to a few different starting pitchers. The Pirates scouted Oakland Athletics’ left-handed pitcher Rich Hill in a start he made against the Pirates a few weeks ago. Also, on Friday night the Pittsburgh Pirates were scouting Tampa Bay Rays’ right-handed starting pitcher Chris Archer.

Well, a new name has emerged on the trade front for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It is a name that the Pirates have been connected to in the past. That pitcher is New York Yankees’ right-handed pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel, the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees have discussed a possible trade involving Nathan Eovaldi. So far this season Eovaldi has struggled for the Yankees. In fact, he was moved to the Yankee bullpen but will return to their starting rotation on Tuesday night.

In 98 2/3 innings pitched this season Nathan Eovaldi has not gotten the results he or the Yankees were hoping for. He is averaging 7.39 K/9 and just 2.92 BB/9 which are strong numbers, but his 1.73 HR/9 is not. Eovaldi has allowed 19 home runs on the season, and that is a big reason his ERA is 5.11.

However, Eovaldi does pitch in Yankee Stadium which is a very good hitters park. As a result, opposing batters have a .362 wOBA and a .536 slugging percentage against him at home. On the road these numbers are just .332 and .430. So it is not out of the realm of possibility that a lot of his struggles have stemmed from pitching at Yankee Stadium.

The 4.12 xFIP Nathan Eovaldi has this season indicates that his ERA is inflated and that he has pitched better than a 5.11 ERA. Furthermore, Eovaldi has a strong 50.7 percent groundball rate which fits the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching mold. As I said above, the Pittsburgh Pirates have had interest in Eovaldi in the past. In the 2014-2015 offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates discussed a trade with the Miami Marlins that was centered around Pedro Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi.

Nathan Eovaldi also has an electric arm. This season his fastball is averaging 97.1 miles per hour, and for his career it averages 95.7 miles per hour. Also, Eovaldi has the ability to hit 100 miles per hour on the radar gun. Nathan Eovaldi also throws a strong split-finger fastball.

Personally, I have always been on Nathan Eovaldi due to his electric arm and high groundball rate. But if the Pittsburgh Pirates were to acquire him, I would prefer it be in the offseason. When in the middle of a pennant race, I would rather acquire a pitcher that is more reliable and more of a sure thing to contribute this season.

One plus to Nathan Eovaldi is that he is under team control through the 2017 season. Therefore, Eovaldi would not be a rental player for the Pittsburgh Pirates. When you combine the Pittsburgh Pirates past interest in Nathan Eovaldi with his profile, I would not be the least bit surprised to see talks between the Pirates and Yankees involving Nathan Eovaldi continue.

Next: Why The Pirates Will Still Make The Postseason

The Pittsburgh Pirates need to acquire pitching help before the August 1st trading deadline. Nathan Eovaldi is a name that intrigues me, but more so as an offseason reclamation project than an in season acquisition. While Eovaldi has great stuff and I believe Ray Searage could fix him, I also think this is best done in Spring Training and not in the middle of a pennant race. Then again, I felt the same way about J.A. Happ last season.