If Nathan Eovaldi had a solid 2014 campaign, he likely would still be on the Marlins' roster. But his inability to find the strike zone consistently led to Miami trading him to the Yankees in exchange for Martin Prado, and according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Marlins' frustration with Eovaldi's development made the deal realistic.
fish were frustrated trying to harness obvious eovaldi talent. w/blessing of rothschild/stick, yanks may have gotten good 1— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 29, 2014
w/good stuff, eovaldi allowed most hits in nl. said scout: "stuff solid but command comes/goes ... still love to have him."— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 29, 2014
Miami acquired Eovaldi in the Hanley Ramirez trade with the Dodgers, and was confident he would be able to evolve as a front of the rotation arm. In 2014, he posted a 4.37 ERA and 3.37 FIP in 199.2 innings pitched. He has proven to be durable throughout the course of his career, and made 33 starts last season for the Marlins.
Although his velocity is notable, Eovaldi had difficulty throwing strikes in key situations. His 1.94 BB/9 in 2014 may suggest otherwise, but more often than not, his offspeed pitches were around the middle of the plate. Pitching Coach Chuck Hernandez was looking to help him utilize his slider and curveball effectively, but 62.9 percent of his pitches a season ago were fastballs.
Many scouts believe that Eovaldi would thrive in the back of the bullpen, but the Marlins did not want to experiment. Steve Cishek has been consistent, and Carter Capps, Mike Dunn, and A.J. Ramos should all prove to be plus setup options. Eovaldi's delivery, which gets lengthy at times, could be part of the problem.
The Marlins, especially under Dan Jennings and Michael Hill, have been rightfully patient with regard to the development of their younger players. They were in no hurry to promote top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney, and did not have an issue sending him back to Triple-A New Orleans to make some adjustments. Another year of Eovaldi, considering his youth, may have been beneficial, but the Marlins are in "win now" mode and will likely thrive with Mat Latos and David Phelps in the rotation (assuming Dan Haren does not head to South Florida).
For a squad that is seeking youth, such as the Yankees, Eovaldi is a solid fit. He is a controllable right-handed arm that still might be able to be a successful middle of the rotation starter. Eovaldi was not in the Miami's long term plans, which may benefit the Marlins moving forward. The veteran additions should be able to make losing Eovaldi manageable.