Tampa Bay Rays Strengthen their Rotation

Tampa Bay Rays Strengthen their Rotation
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Rays have strengthened their rotation with last month’s signing of right-hander Zach Eflin. He signed a three-year $40 million contract, the largest deal for a free agent in the team’s history. According to a report from Jeff Passan of ESPN

He will make $11 million this season, $11 million in 2024, and $18 million in 2025. Additionally, he will receive a one-time $1 million assignment bonus if he is traded.

With Philadelphia

Eflin, who turns 29 in April, spent the first seven seasons of his major league career with the Philadelphia Phillies. He has been a starter during his career and though not dominant, he has been consistent. He struggled early in his career, but since 2018 has settled in as a decent mid-rotation pitcher.

A knee injury last June put him on the Injured List. When he returned, he was moved to the bullpen. Elfin posted 3.38 ERA over 10 2/3 playoff innings in ten games. He picked up a save in a series-clinching win in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series.

Has the Stuff

There has never been a doubt that Eflin has the stuff to be a very good mid-rotation starter. However, knee injuries have kept him from really showcasing his talents. He has great control with his sinker and slider pitches. Both pitches get him many ground ball outs. He averages fewer than two walks per nine innings.

Valuable Addition

Eflin surely will be a valuable addition to the Rays’ ever-improving rotation. He is projected to be a third or fourth man in the rotation. He joins a rotation that includes All-Star left-hander Shane McClanahan and right-handers Tyler Glasnow and Drew Rasmussen.

For spring training 2023, he will compete against Yonny Chirinos, Josh Fleming, Luis Patino, and Jeffrey Springs for a spot in the starting rotation.

Look Past Injuries

The Tampa Bay Rays have upgraded their rotation with Eflin. They seem unconcerned with his record or statistics, and also appear to be willing to look past his injuries. Known as an organization that has found ways to get the best out of their pitchers, including pitchers who have struggled, or who have not (yet) lived up to their potential.

They are hoping with some mechanical work, Eflin will be another pitcher that can provide quality starts. Elfin has the talent. If he can remain healthy and injury-free, he could bring the Rays exactly what they need.

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James Marshall

James Marshall

Jim Marshall has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 50 years. He is an avid baseball fan, but enjoys all of Arizona's local sports teams, including Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals and Coyotes. In addition to the four major sports, he closely follows the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Jim's passion for baseball continues beyond the field as he is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. His favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. In addition to watching, reading and talking about sports, he takes time to travel and appreciate the great state of Arizona with his lovely wife, Patti.

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