Rumors

The Phillies wanted to sign Nathan Eovaldi to be their closer, per report



Had Eovaldi signed with the Phillies, he would have had a much different role than previous years (Keith Allison)

While most of the headlines involving the Philadelphia Phillies at the MLB Winter Meetings have been about Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, there have also been some interesting tidbits regarding the Phillies and already-signed free agents.

The Phillies reportedly had interest in both Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann before both signed with the division-rival Atlanta Braves. Additionally, The Athletic‘s Jayson Stark tweeted Monday that the Phillies had shown interest in signing Nathan Eovaldi, but not as a starter. Instead, Eovaldi would have had a ninth-inning role in Philadelphia.

Eovaldi signed a four year, $68 million deal with the Boston Red Sox last week, who he had just previously won the World Series with back in October. Eovaldi, who has spent seven years in the majors, has a career record of 44-53 with a 4.16 ERA. This past season, Eovaldi put up a 3.81 ERA, with a 3.60 FIP.

Eovaldi doesn’t have much experience as a reliever- he’s pitched in 156 games while starting 146 of them. He’s never recorded a save, and has only finished three games in his career. However, Eovaldi did show some potential coming out of the bullpen in the World Series, when he pitched in three games, finishing one. He had a 1.13 ERA with six strikeouts in 8.0 innings.

It isn’t clear what kind of contract the Phillies would given Eovaldi with the intention of him closing games. Presumably, more money would’ve had to be added for Eovaldi to even consider closing, as he would have left too much money on the table by foregoing the label of “starter.” For reference, the largest contract given to a closer is Aroldis Chapman’s four-year, $86 million deal he signed with the New York Yankees back in 2016.

The Phillies push for Eovaldi is another sign that the club would prefer for Seranthony Dominguez, fresh off of a stellar rookie season, to be used in whatever the highest-leverage situation in the game is. That means they need another arm to be the closer. If the Phillies aren’t content with their current crop of relievers, there are still many options on the table. Andrew Miller, who has had prior closing experience, was reported to have drawn interest from the Phillies by MLB.com‘s Jon Morosi. Other relievers on the market who have held closing duties include Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, Jeurys Familia, Joakim Soira, Cody Allen and Kelvin Herrera.

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