Eveland, Willis: New teams, same pitchers 

June, 2, 2010
In case you missed it, and I'd understand if you did, a pair of minor trades occurred Tuesday night, each involving struggling left-handed pitchers moving over to the National League. Former Rookie of the Year and 22-game winner Dontrelle Willis was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Billy Buckner, and lesser-known Dana Eveland became a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. While the gut reaction to each move is probably to ignore them from a real-life angle -- these teams are a combined 42-64 -- the fact is that fantasy baseball owners should never close doors when big league talent is involved.

While I find myself personally rooting for Willis to overcome his inner demons and return to some level of success, Eveland is the one who intrigues me a bit more in fantasy. Not too long ago, as a member of the Oakland Athletics, Eveland made himself ownable even in mixed leagues with his first-half performance in 2008; he carried a 3.49 ERA, just four home runs allowed and strong (especially for him) hit rate into the All-Star break. After that, as readily apparent from any statistical measure, Eveland hasn't been the same.

Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesIn his major league career, Dana Eveland has a 5.66 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP.
The numbers don't lie: Eveland has a 6.53 ERA since, covering 28 starts over parts of three seasons. The Toronto Blue Jays took a chance on him in February, and Eveland won a rotation spot with a strong spring (1.80 ERA, 21 strikeouts in 25 innings). Again I was intrigued, and I even added Eveland in an AL-only league after his first outing of the season, when he tossed 7 1/3 innings of five-hit, no-run ball at Baltimore. Then he beat the Chicago White Sox in his second outing. Two outings later, I couldn't afford to be patient, and I let him go.