The Rays have agreed to sign right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to a creative one-year, $2 million deal that includes a $2 million option for 2018, as reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Eovaldi, who was released by the Yankees this winter, is expected to miss the entire 2017 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery last August. His release came as a bit of a surprise, though the Yankees decided not to hold up a 40-man roster spot for an injured player who would hit free agency after the 2017 campaign.
With this deal, the Rays are essentially paying Eovaldi $2 million to rehab over the next year, and will assess the club option depending on how that rehab goes. If it is deemed to have been successful, Tampa will have a proven major-league starter under contract for $2 million plus incentives in 2018.
Eovaldi, who turns 27 today, pitched to a 4.76 ERA and 7.0 K/9 in 24 starts for the Yankees last season before having surgery. He drew strong trade interest from a few teams (including the Pirates) at the non-waiver deadline, and has always been looked at as a high-potential arm by clubs around the league.
Eovaldi is a veteran of six major-league seasons with the Dodgers (2011-12), Marlins (2012-14) and Yankees (2015-16), owning a lifetime 38-46 record, 4.21 ERA and 6.6 K/9 i that span.