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Nathan Eovaldi and Rich Hill: Buying and Selling the Latest Offseason News for Fantasy Baseball

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Even though the Winter Meetings are now behind us, there’s still plenty of offseason left when it comes to baseball news and rumors – especially with a number of the offseason’s top free agents still without a team. And that’s all without mentioning potential trades as there hasn’t been an overabundance of deals made so far. The reports and rumors of free agent interest and trade interest, combined with actual free agent signings and trades, will continue to have significant ramifications for fantasy managers ahead of drafts next spring

The aim of this column is to provide you with the latest fantasy analysis on both rumors and reports, as well as official signings and trades, and how it pertains to redraft fantasy baseball leagues next spring. Moves, or rumors and reports, tabbed as “Buying” are obviously good moves or potentially good moves from a fantasy standpoint. Moves or potential moves and reported interest that are filed under “Selling?” Not so great.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the news with some free agency news, specifically free agency news that pertains to reported deals for a pair of veteran starting pitchers.

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Buying For Fantasy Baseball

Nathan Eovaldi Reportedly Signing With The Rangers

Right off the bat, Eovaldi – who reportedly agreed to a contract with the Texas Rangers per a tweet from FanSided’s Robert Murray on Tuesday afternoon— is an intriguing fantasy fit in Texas due to the American League West club’s ballpark.

Murray tweeted:

“Free-agent pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and the Texas Rangers are in agreement on a contract, according to sources familiar with the deal.”

Nowhere near as hitter-friendly as its predecessor Globe Life Park, Globe Life Field is decidedly pitcher-friendly. In the last three seasons, 15 different ballparks have higher park factors where runs scored were concerned, per Statcast.

Making the signing look even better for fantasy managers is that Eovaldi is also leaving Boston after logging a 3.87 ERA, a 4.30 FIP, 103 strikeouts, and 20 walks in 109.1 innings for the Red Sox last season. Those metrics included a 5.26 ERA in 51.1 home innings at Fenway Park last season, a stadium with the third-highest park factor where runs scored were concerned in the last three seasons, via Statcast.

But it’s not just the change in ballparks.

Because while Corey Seager and Marcus Semien weren’t quite as effective fielders as Xander Bogaerts and Trevor Story in the field last year in terms of double-play partners, they were still responsible for some quality glove-work. Plus, the Rangers were overall much better than the Red Sox where a number of fielding metrics were concerned.

  • Corey Seager In 2022: 1,259 Innings, -4 DRS, 7.4 Def, +4 OAA
  • Marcus Semien In 2022: 1,293 Innings, +3 DRS, 3.6 Def, +8 OAA
  • Xander Bogaerts In 2022: 1,249.2 Innings, +5 DRS, 9.5 Def, +5 OAA
  • Trevor Story In 2022: 813.2 Innings, +6 DRS, 6.9 Def, +10 OAA

Looking past the infield, Texas outfielders accounted for a combined +2 OAA metric, which finished noticeably higher than the -14 metric that Boston outfielders logged last season. A -14 number that was only better than that of six teams’ collective outfield groupings during the 2022 campaign.

Overall, Rangers fielders had a -6 OAA as a team. The Red Sox? They finished with a collective -12 OAA as a team.

It makes for an ideal fantasy upgrade situation-wise for Eovaldi, who is among the league’s best at limiting walks. He owns a 1.99 walks per nine-inning rate since the start of the 2018 season. Since the beginning of 2020? Only Clayton Kershaw has a lower walks-per-nine-inning rate than Eovaldi among starters with a minimum of 300 innings of work.


Selling For Fantasy Baseball

Rich Hill Reportedly Joining The Pirates

Pittsburgh has made some moves to improve their roster this winter, adding the likes of Connor Joe, Carlos Santana, Ji-Man Choi, Austin Hedges, and Vince Velasquez to the roster. They’ve also reportedly agreed to terms with free agent starter Rich Hill per a tweet from ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Tuesday. Passan tweeted the following:

“Left-hander Rich Hill and the Pittsburgh Pirates are in agreement on a one-year, $8 million contract, pending physical, sources tell ESPN. Hill, who turns 43 in March, is entering his 19th big league season after making 26 starts and throwing 124.1 innings for Boston this year.”

With Hill reportedly joining Pittsburgh’s group of offseason additions this winter, they’ll have a shot at being a bit better on the field – as long as Pittsburgh doesn’t trade Bryan Reynolds this winter, that is.

Still, they’re a decidedly rebuilding club. The likes of Joe, Santana, and Choi will help the team do a bit better in the run-scoring department, as the lineup likely isn’t strong enough to support strong win-total numbers from their starters.

Pittsburgh’s rotation accounted for just 21 pitcher wins last season, the fewest in the league.

It severely impacted and impacted the fantasy ceilings of both Roansy Contreras – who had four wins and a 3.81 ERA in 18 starts – and Jose Quintana. Quintana only logged three pitcher wins in 20 starts, spanning 103 innings of work prior to being traded despite pitching to a 3.50 ERA and a 3.23 FIP in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform.

It’ll likely do the same for Hill, even for a starting pitcher who has logged an ERA below 3.90 in six of the last seven seasons. As of right now, he's only an option in deeper leagues, with most of his fantasy upside coming from the prospect of a potential midseason trade to a contender with a more fantasy-friendly environment, a la Quintana last season.

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