Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin and the Tampa Bay Rays are in agreement on a three-year, $40 million deal, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Eflin had spent his entire seven-year career with the Phillies before signing with the Rays.
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Zach Eflin’s deal with Tampa Bay, as <a href="https://twitter.com/Joelsherman1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Joelsherman1</a> said, is for $40 million over three years. It’s the largest free agent contract in Rays history. Eflin, 28, grew up in Orlando and will join Tyler Glasnow, Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen in a fantastic Tampa Bay rotation.
Eflin declined the $15 million mutual option on his contract with the Phillies for the 2023 season last month to become a free agent.
The Phillies acquired Eflin in the trade that sent Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014. He made his major league debut in 2016 and served as a starting pitcher for most of his Philadelphia career.
However, Eflin has been plagued by knee injuries throughout his career, and after missing all of August with a knee ailment, he returned to the Phillies as a reliever for the latter stages of the 2022 campaign.
In 20 appearances during the 2022 season, including 13 starts, Eflin posted a 3-5 record, 4.04 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 65 strikeouts across 75.2 innings. He went on to become a go-to member of the Phillies bullpen during the postseason.
In 10 playoff appearances out of the pen, Eflin posted a 3.38 ERA and 12 strikeouts across 10.2 innings. While he was effective as a reliever, he prefers to be a starter moving forward.
"No, I wanna start, man, I’m a starter," Eflin said in November when asked if he could envision himself as a reliever moving forward, per Tim Kelly of Phillies Nation. "I feel like I’m a purebread starter. I think at least I proved that I can relieve, if need be. But I’m a starter through and through, man."
If the Rays envision Eflin as a starter, he'll join a talented rotation that includes Shane McClanahan, Tyler Glasnow, Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs. It's unclear exactly where he'd slide into that rotation, but it would likely be somewhere behind McClanahan and Glasnow.