What will Rangers do if Nathan Eovaldi doesn't hit his 2025 vesting option?

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San Diego Padres v Texas Rangers
San Diego Padres v Texas Rangers / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Texas Rangers signed Nathan Eovaldi to a two-year, $34 million contract just after the 2022 season. That deal included a vesting option for a third season in 2025. That option will kick in if Eovaldi reaches 300 innings pitched across the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

However, it looks as though Eovaldi will not hit that mark. He threw 144 innings last season and has thrown 80 this season. Injuries over the last two years could ultimately be the deciding factor in whether or not the option is exercised.

He needs 76 more innings to hit that mark between Sunday and the conclusion of the regular season. But if he doesn't reach it, the Rangers are going to be faced with a difficult decision when November arrives.

What will the Rangers do with Nathan Eovaldi if his vesting option isn't exercised?

Obviously, at that point, Eovaldi will hit the open market again and be a free agent, which could ultimately spell the end of his time with the Rangers. But would the Rangers look to re-sign him immediately?

Texas might be smart and try to extend him, even with him approaching his 35th birthday. Although he missed some time last year, he came back strong and helped guide the Rangers through the postseason. He even won the Game 5 clincher of the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

This season, the 34-year-old right-hander is 5-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 14 starts. Even as he ages, he remains one of the game's top pitchers and somebody the Rangers can trust in the postseason. But with Texas likely out of contention (they're 8.5 games behind the final AL Wild Card spot), they could look to trade him and capitalize on his value while they still can. Then they can look to bring him back in the offseason, but run themselves the risk of Eovaldi hitting those 76 innings to trigger the vesting option with his new team.

If the Rangers were in contention, it would certainly make sense to re-sign him, and the same holds true if he is ultimately not traded. But they could get a haul in exchange for him if they decide to sell at the deadline and make him one of their available assets. This may be their best course of action. They can also let him know that they intend to bring him back for 2025 and beyond if he's moved elsewhere and doesn't hit his innings mark.

Either way, there's a "situation" with Eovaldi at the moment and the Rangers need to take a stance between now and July 30.