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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Tampa Bay Rays, Zach Eflin reach agreement on 3-year, $40M deal

Right-hander Zach Eflin and the Tampa Bay Rays are in agreement on a three-year contract worth $40 million, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The deal, which is pending a physical, is the largest free-agent contract in Rays history, topping the five-year, $35 million contract that pitcher Wilson Alvarez received before the team’s inaugural 1998 season.

Before reaching agreement with Eflin, the Rays were the last remaining team in the majors to never have committed more than $35 million to a free agent, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. There now are two teams left—the Oakland Athletics and Pittsburgh Pirates—that have never spent $40 million on a free agent.

Eflin, 28, became a free agent after turning down a $15 million mutual option for a $150,000 buyout from the Philadelphia Phillies, completing a $5.7 million, one-year contract.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 01, 2022 at 11:09 PM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rays, zach eflin

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 01, 2022 at 11:20 PM (#6107559)
The deal, which is pending a physical, is the largest free-agent contract in Rays history, topping the five-year, $35 million contract that pitcher Wilson Alvarez received before the team’s inaugural 1998 season.

That's one way to celebrate a 25th anniversary.

(Boggles the mind.)
   2. JRVJ Posted: December 02, 2022 at 11:26 AM (#6107588)
As a Phillies fan, I can say that Eflin will be missed (especially 2022 Eflin).
   3. sotapop Posted: December 02, 2022 at 12:18 PM (#6107594)
so a day after I pop in here and say that pitching shouldn't be their top FA priority... thanks, Rays. But yeah, after 3/5 of your rotation goes down with injuries, it makes some sense, I guess.

This, from the version of story, was interesting to me (I didn't know much about Eflin):

Eflin doesn’t have a history of missing many bats, but the sinker-heavy starter posted some intriguing numbers this year. His career-best 85.3 mph average exit velocity ranked in the Majors’ 96th percentile, and his career-low 31.1 percent hard-hit rate was inside the top 10 percentile. He also doesn’t give up free passes, averaging fewer than two walks per nine innings over the past three years.

Eflin also made an interesting change to his pitch mix this year, which may have intrigued the analytically minded Rays. After years of using his slider as his top secondary offering, he all but shelved that pitch in favor of his curveball. Opponents hit just .155 with a .241 slugging percentage against Eflin’s curve, which he threw 20.1 percent of the time (up from 10.8 percent in 2021) while generating a 43.5 percent whiff rate with it.

   4. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: December 02, 2022 at 01:17 PM (#6107605)
Eflin strikes me as an average-ish pitcher who could be more. He has pretty good control, which contributes to sub-4 FIPs over the past few years. He's only qualified for the ERA title once, but maybe Tampa can just throw him in a usage role that gets more utility out of him.
   5. The Duke Posted: December 02, 2022 at 01:17 PM (#6107606)
As I understand it, this is a 2/22 deal followed by a 1/18 which implies that he will be traded in a year and half - ish. Looked at that way, this is a nice price for the Rays.

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