The Tampa Bay Rays showed their intention of returning to the defining rounds of the playoffs in 2023, by signing pitcher Zach Eflin to a three-year deal.
The total amount of money in the contract?
It’s always refreshing to see small-market teams hand high-priced deals to free agents, but it’s still surprising to see the Rays paying top dollar for a free agent.
Eflin was in high demand after a nice showing in relief during the postseason with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Since being sent to the bullpen, the quality of his stuff (especially his breaking ball) improved and he missed more bats.
In the playoffs, he pitched 10.2 frames with a 3.38 ERA and 12 punchouts.
Nightengale explained why Eflin chose the Rays’ pact.
“The Boston #RedSox offered the same contract for Eflin, but he lives in nearby Orlando, so #Rays had home-field advantage,” he said.
Players Used To Sacrifice Things To Play In Boston
Back in the day, free agents died to play in Boston: it presented a unique challenge for their careers with a fantastic fan base, great earning opportunities, and a historic stadium and franchise.
Per MLB analyst Jared Carrabis, the situation is not the same as in the past.
“Not that I’m gonna cry over losing out on Zach Eflin in particular, but I remember when playing for the Boston Red Sox was more of a scale-tipper than saving on taxes and geographical preference,” he tweeted.
Not that I’m gonna cry over losing out on Zach Eflin in particular, but I remember when playing for the Boston Red Sox was more of a scale-tipper than saving on taxes and geographical preference. https://t.co/l2MgAUNAQR
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) December 2, 2022
After winning the 2018 World Series, the Red Sox haven’t been the same, even accounting for their 2021 trip to the Championship Series.
They are in danger of losing Xander Bogaerts, they lost Eflin, and have also missed out on other free agents in 2021 and 2022.