Friday, April 3, 2015


Back in December, the Yankees traded away Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Miami Marlins for right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones and pitching prospect Domingo German. This trade caused a lot of outrage among many Yankees fans and some of the media. A friend of mine was absolutely furious. He was all but calling for GM Brain Cashman to be hanged in the town square. Well, four months later as we approach Opening Day, are you still mad bro??
I absolutely LOVED this trade! The Yankees gave up a 31 year old Prado, a good ballplayer, but one who was expendable. They have Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder on the way up and signed Stephen Drew (an argument for another day) and Chase Headley. They gave up David Phelps who was a solid long relief guy and spot starter type, a valuable asset, but also expendable. It’s what they got in return that has me very pleased.
For starters... they obtained Garrett Jones, a lefty swinging first baseman/outfielder who said it was his dream to be a Yankee. You gotta love that. He will be a valuable asset to the 2015 ball club as he fills multiple roles. They also acquired right-handed pitching prospect Domingo German, a 22 year old right-hander, who unfortunately appears headed for Tommy John surgery. There is nothing anyone can do about that. But German pitched very well in Single-A ball in 2014 sporting a 9-3 record over 123 1/3 innings while striking out 113 and finishing with a 2.41 ERA. The good news is German was still a couple years away from the big leagues so he will have time to rehab, prove his worth and still possibly be Major League ready by 25 years old.

But the star of this show this Spring is 25-year-old Nathan Eovaldi. The kid has been lights out! Over 13 2/3 innings thus far, Eovaldi has a 0.66 ERA with 14 strikeouts while allowing just 10 hits and has still yet to walk a batter. These stats don’t include solid simulated game performances either. I know, I know, it’s just the spring, but one can be excited right? 

Eovaldi showed some good stuff in 2014 while pitching for a pretty bad Marlins club. Eovaldi’s biggest issue was he led the National League in hits allowed last season with 223 over 199 2/3 innings. He did strike out 142 and only issued 43 walks though, a pretty decent ratio.
Eovaldi fastball’s average velocity, 95 MPH, was fourth in the league among qualified starters in 2014. As shows, the biggest issue he had, and the reason his velocity didn’t translate into a higher strikeout percentage, was that he made too many mistakes within the strike zone. 

He threw too many pitches right down Broadway, which led to minimal walks, but allowed good Major League hitters to put the ball in play, resulting in too many hits. The Yankees coaching staff liked what they saw however, and it was speculated that they felt they could tweak something, similar to how they tweaked Brandon McCarthy last season.
Eovaldi has credited his spring success to a couple things he has been able to do well. He said he has been able to elevate his fastball really well, which is way better than throwing it in the heart of the zone! With as hard as he throws, a high fastball is a very difficult pitch to catch up to. Second, he feels his slider was flat at times last year and he was throwing it too hard. He has been able to get more of a downward break and also has been able to consistently throw it for strikes. He has been working on a splitter as well and he says he feels it is getting better and better every time out. 

I don’t really see any reason not to be excited for this kid to be a Yankee. He has the physical skills and has shown the ability to adapt and learn from past mistakes. Plus he is slated to be just the number four starter, is just 25-years-old and comes inexpensive currently. He is the kind of guy that could be a number two or three starter for years to come. Put him with Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka and that’s a solid 1-2-3 punch. And check this out Yankees fans… They’re 25, 26 and 27 years old! Wow! Add them to 28-year-old Adam Warren, the likely fifth starter (or even Chase Whitley), and we could actually have a pitching staff considered relatively young!
So, for all the haters that were so pissed about trading away Martin Prado and David Phelps, have a cold one for me. Take a deeper look into what this trade really offers the Yankees. Depth with Garrett Jones, a solid pitching prospect in Domingo German (who hopefully will recover from his unfortunate injury) and a hard-throwing, young, Major League experienced right-hander, Nathan Eovaldi, with top of the rotation ability.
I’m a happy Yankees fan when it comes to this trade. My buddy’s panties were all in a bunch, but maybe now he will come around actually be a happy Yankees fan for once. There's way too much hate at times! Don't worry, be happy!

Dan Lucia
BYB Writer
Twitter: @DManLucia

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