Pittsburgh and New York have discussed a deal involving Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi, according to Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
The club was interested in Eovaldi before the Marlins traded him to New York in 2014, Biertempfel notes.
The Pirates are among the teams known to be seeking starting pitching help leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, since Jon Niese and Jeff Locke have both struggled this season.
Niese, whose role has changed since being moved to the bullpen, has pitched to a 5.13 ERA and 5.49 FIP over 101.2 innings.
Locke hasn’t been much better, pitching to a 5.26 ERA and 4.91 FIP over 101.0 innings.
While the Pirates are hoping to upgrade their rotation, Eovaldi might not be the ideal target, since he too has struggled at times this season. Over 98.2 innings with the Yankees, he’s pitched to a 5.11 ERA and 5.04 FIP.
Eovaldi, who could improve a Pirates starting staff that’s pitched to a 4.83 ERA to this point, had an effective second half last season, though, pitching to a 3.67 ERA over nine starts.
Although he hasn’t had much success this season, Eovaldi could continue to draw interest because he is a controllable arm. He is earning $5.6 million this season and is arbitration eligible for the final time next year.
New York enters play Saturday a game under five-hundred and 8.5 games behind the Orioles in the American League East. However, the Yankees have yet to make their intentions at the deadline clear.
Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman have been mentioned in trade rumors, but moving Eovaldi could result in the acquisition of one of Pittsburgh’s better prospects, perhaps Trevor Williams or Steven Brault.
Eovaldi isn’t Pittsburgh’s only target, as Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times tweeted the Pirates had a scout present to watch Chris Archer’s start Friday night.
The Pirates are trying to trade Niese and have young pitching depth to turn to, but they seem most interested in adding an external option to the mix.
Texas is also interested in Eovaldi, according to Biertempfel.