Report: Rays agree to 3-year, $40M deal with Zach Eflin
The deal is worth $40 million, making it the largest free-agent contract in Rays history, according to the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin. Wilson Alvarez's five-year, $35-million contract set their previous record in December 1997, several months before the then-Devil Rays played their first game.
Although he pitched out of the bullpen during the Philadelphia Phillies' recent playoff run, the Rays intend to use Eflin as a starter, the New York Post's Joel Sherman reports. The 28-year-old had spent the majority of his career in the rotation before his move to the bullpen in September.
Eflin, an Orlando native, owns a lifetime 4.49 ERA and 1.29 WHIP with 552 strikeouts across parts of seven big-league seasons with the Phillies. Despite being a constant presence in Philadelphia during the team's rebuild, he's struggled to stay healthy, having made 25 starts just once in his career.
The 28-year-old started his 2022 campaign in the rotation before a knee bruise sidelined him in June after 13 starts. When he returned, the Phillies moved him into the bullpen where he thrived, posting a 1.17 ERA and 0.52 WHIP down the stretch. Eflin saved both Philly's playoff-clinching and wild card series-clinching victories and struck out 12 batters in 10 2/3 postseason innings.
The former first-round pick was one of the longest-tenured Phillies, who originally acquired him from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 2014 trade for franchise icon Jimmy Rollins.