New York Yankees starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will undergo surgery in his right elbow which is expected to keep him out for the entire 2017 season.
The Yankees suffered a major blow to their chances of competing in 2017 when it was announced righthanded starter Nathan Eovaldi would require surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow, as well as a partial tear in his UCL.
The 26-year-old Eovaldi has had mixed results this year, pitching to a 4.76 ERA and 4.96 FIP in 124.2 innings, a step back from last season’s marks of 4.20 ERA and 3.42 FIP.
Still, the loss is bigger than those numbers would indicate because of Eovaldi’s immense potential. He is a guy who has looked to be on the verge of a major breakout ever since he put on the pinstripes.
With Eovaldi’s contract up after the 2017 season, he may have thrown his final pitch for New York. Given their familiarity with him, they could choose to sign him to modest deal and hope for a rebound, but rehabbing pitchers rarely choose to rebuild value in homer-friendly Yankee Stadium.
Eovaldi was seemingly on the verge of a big payday after next season because of his 100 mph heater and improving strikeout numbers. He has shown flashes of being a number two or three starter in the past, and would have likely commanded a $60-100 million commitment on the open market considering his youth.
Once his rehab schedule is announced, it seems likely that Eovaldi will be non-tendered this winter. If it becomes clear he won’t pitch in 2017, there’s no reason to keep him on the roster. Although nothing is official, Eovaldi told Joe Giglio of NJ Advance Media:
"Flexor tendon will be three-to-six months for that rehab. The UCL—being the second time—more like 14-to-18 months. I got a second a opinion. Very best case scenario is maybe to make it back toward the end of next year.”"
Eovaldi had previously asked for a second opinion after being examined by Dr. Christopher Ahmad. The fact that he has already undergone TJ surgery in high school makes the already grueling rehab process even more difficult
The Yankees have already announced that Luis Cessa will take over Eovaldi’s place in the rotation and will make his first career start Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels. If Cessa flops, the team has a number of options in the upper minors to replace him, including Luis Severino, Chance Adams, Dietrich Enns, and Jordan Montgomery.