Athletics

Did Nathan Eovaldi's playoff heroics put him out of A's price range?

Did Nathan Eovaldi's playoff heroics put him out of A's price range?

No free agent made himself more money this postseason than right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.

The 28-year-old had a respectable regular season, going 6-7 with a 3.81 ERA and 1.13 WHIP between the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox. His career numbers also are just decent: 44-53, 4.16 ERA, 1.35 WHIP.

But in 22 1/3 innings this postseason, Eovaldi allowed just four earned runs for an ERA of 1.61, helping the Red Sox win a World Series title.

Eovaldi's playoff heroics turned him into one of the hottest commodities of the offseason. He earned just $2 million in each of the last two seasons, but he's now projected to land a multiyear contract at around $15 million per season.

The A's obviously need starting pitching help -- executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane already has said as much. But spending big bucks on a sexy free agent target isn't exactly their MO.

Eovaldi would have been a shrewd signing for around $8 million per year, but $15 million is a pretty steep price to pay off one great month. Before this season, Eovaldi hadn't recorded an ERA under 4 since 2013. His high WHIP and low swing-and-miss rate also are concerns.

For the type of money Eovaldi is expected to get, the A's would be better off pursuing top-end starters such as Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel, both of whom are expected to earn around $20 million per year. And really, what's an extra $5 million at that point?

Otherwise, Oakland probably should use that $15 million to sign multiple pitchers, including their own free agents.

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Thursday is dedicated to free agent pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.

Will Phillies be in the mix for Nate Eovaldi?
How Eovaldi set himself up for big payday
How does Eovaldi fit the White Sox?
Will Giants take risk with Eovaldi?

How David Forst thinks state of MLB free-agent market will impact A's

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AP

How David Forst thinks state of MLB free-agent market will impact A's

During an interview last offseason on MLB Network, Indians manager Terry Francona joked he was upping his score in a game on his phone. That's how he described the "excitement" of the Winter Meetings.

Not much happened.

This year in San Diego, things could be different.

"It does seem like the narrative has been less about the starring free-agent market," A's general manager David Forst said Thursday on a conference call. "You know, we always kind of go at our own pace here. I think we have a good track record of targeting the players that we think fit for us and moving at our own pace."

Jurickson Profar also will be heading to San Diego, but as a member of the Padres. He was the first major trade of the A's offseason with catcher Austin Allen and a player to be named later coming back to Oakland in the deal. 

"I don't know that we're gonna be affected by what is going on in the rest of the industry, but it is nice that there's less of a narrative of how slow and boring things are and hopefully that continues next week," Forst said.

That narrative possibly being gone means Ken Rosenthal will continue to lose sleep and perhaps means the A's will get aggressive. 

[RELATED: A's remain in talks with Blake Treinen]

With the loss of Profar, Franklin Barreto and Jorge Mateo will get a chance to make an impression at spring training along with Sheldon Neuse who played at second base a bit last season. The A's, however, aren't set on the infield. 

"But we do continue to look for a left-handed option in the infield," Forst added.

A's remain in contract talks with Blake Treinen, GM David Forst says

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USATSI

A's remain in contract talks with Blake Treinen, GM David Forst says

MLB's annual Winter Meetings head to San Diego next week, and there already are some big-name free agents receiving big paychecks. 

It appears the moves are going quicker than they started last offseason. As for the A's, one of their priorities is their pitching -- particularly out of the bullpen.

"We will continue to be in conversations with relief pitchers," Forst said Thursday in a conference call with reporters. One of those relievers includes former Athletic Blake Treinen.

The 31-year-old was non-tendered on Monday making him a free agent, but Forst said they're keeping the option open to re-sign him.

"We'll continue that conversation, but there's obviously going to be a lot of interest in him."

Treinen leaves behind a rough season that was the complete opposite of his 2018 All-Star campaign.

In 2019, he finished with a 4.91 ERA with just 59 strikeouts in 58.2 innings. The season prior? A 0.78 ERA with a 0.83 WHIP. He also was in AL Cy Young and MVP talks.

The good news for Treinen is the free-agent market is very forgiving with relief pitchers. One bad season could be right ahead of something great. 

Along with Treinen, Forst also explained that bringing back Jake Diekman was a priority for the team, which the A's did Tuesday on a two-year contract.

[RELATED: Profar trade gives A's infield clarity]

But the A's are far from being done, and Forst mentioned it had been a while since the A's went with a bullpen of fewer than eight players. 

"I think it's an area we will continue to address if possible," Forst added.