In Nathan Eovaldi, the Yankees saw a hard-throwing righthander who had yet to reach his full potential. So when general manager Brian Cashman called the Marlins a month ago, his name came up immediately.
"He's got a good arm and he's young," Cashman said Friday after acquiring Eovaldi in a five-player trade that sent Martin Prado to the Marlins. "And we felt it would be important to get a guy like him at this stage of his career into our rotation."
The Yankees sent Prado, righthander David Phelps and $6 million to the Marlins in exchange for pitching prospect Domingo German, first baseman-outfielder Garrett Jones and Eovaldi, who will be expected to help shore up a rotation riddled with question marks.
But the move creates a hole at second base, where Prado had been projected as the starter. For now, prospects Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder will compete for the job, though the Yankees could explore the free-agent market for a proven player.
Eovaldi went 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA and allowed a National League-high 223 hits. But he logged 1992/3 innings, a major consideration considering the Yankees' rotation's health issues.
Eovaldi ranked fourth among all starters in average fastball velocity (95.7 mph), according to FanGraphs.com. "He's got a great deal of ability," Cashman said. "I don't think he's a finished product, but we're really excited to add him to the mix.''
The mix, at least for now, doesn't appear to include top-shelf free agent Max Scherzer or Hiroki Kuroda. Cashman said the Yankees have yet to hear whether Kuroda wants to keep pitching in the U.S. So Eovaldi will be line to join the rotation, though adding him was costly for the Yankees.
Prado, 31, hit .316/.336/.541 with seven homers in 133 at-bats with the Yankees after being obtained from the Diamondbacks at the 2014 trade deadline.
The trade will wind up a wash financially for the Yankees -- at least for this season. Prado is owed $11 million in each of the next two years, and the Yankees agreed to kick in $3 million in each of those two seasons to help cover the salary. And though Eovaldi is projected to make a modest $3 million through arbitration in 2015, Jones is owed $5 million.
By acquiring the lefthanded- hitting Jones, the Yankees added some insurance at first base for Mark Teixeira and perhaps at designated hitter for Alex Rodriguez.
Jones, 33, hit .246/.309/.411 with 15 homers in 146 games for the Marlins last season. He has played first base and both corner outfield spots.
"His lefthanded bat is obviously made for our ballpark," Cashman said. "You saw us go through a season last year when we didn't have a legitimate backup first baseman. Now we do. Obviously, he can be a choice for our manager to be a DH against righthanded pitching, be a backup first baseman, he can swing over to rightfield."
The Yankees also received German, 22, a hard-throwing prospect who was 9-3 with a 2.48 ERA for Class A Greensboro in the South Atlantic League.
Phelps went 15-14 with a 4.21 ERA in 2991/3 innings between the rotation and bullpen in the last three seasons.