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Report: Rays close to signing Nathan Eovaldi

New York Mets v New York Yankees

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 04: Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi #30 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch against the New York Mets during the first inning of a game at Yankee Stadium on August 4, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

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Free agent right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is nearing a major league deal with the Rays, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The contract is said to include an option for 2018, which, in Eovaldi’s case, is crucial. The 26-year-old underwent his second Tommy John surgery and an additional flexor tendon surgery last August and will be not be eligible to start in 2017, though Topkin predicts that he’ll be ready to return to the mound in advance of the 2018 season.

The veteran righty was released by the Yankees in November after completing his second circuit with the team in 2016. He delivered a 4.76 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 7.0 SO/9 over 124 2/3 innings, and while his fastball velocity hit an all-time high, his performance was overshadowed by career-worst home run totals and an underwhelming strikeout rate.

The deal has yet to be confirmed by the team.

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