Phillies: Seranthony Dominguez among 7 non-tender candidates
By Matt Rappa
6. Zach Eflin
Considering the Phillies have at least one hole to fill in their starting rotation this offseason to replace Jake Arrieta, it would be unlikely for them to roll the dice with Zach Eflin and try to non-tender him to eventually re-sign on a cheaper deal.
The 26-year-old right-hander has been among the most reliable pitchers on the Phillies’ staff in recent seasons and is believed to have yet to unlock his full potential on the mound.
Since his June 2016 debut, Eflin has combined to go 29-33 with a 4.63 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, and 388-129 strikeouts-to-walks ratio spanning 89 appearances, 84 starts, and 478 innings. This past season, the Orlando, Florida, native went 4-2 with career-best figures in ERA (3.97), WHIP (1.271), SO9 (10.7), and SO/W (4.67).
The Phillies acquired Eflin from the Los Angeles Dodgers in December 2014, along with fellow prospect Tom Windle, in exchange for franchise hits leader Jimmy Rollins. This trade is a rare case in which they ultimately acquired solid, big-league talent in exchange for one of their 2008 World Series champions. The same cannot be said for the Chase Utley trade, for example, when the Phillies acquired Darnell Sweeney and minor-leaguer John Richy in the August 2015 swap.
The Phillies non-tendering Eflin at this stage of the offseason and his career would be a disappointment. Even new pitching coach Caleb Cotham believes Eflin, along with Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, are strong Cy Young Award candidates in 2021 and beyond.
Consider Eflin — who is projected to earn between $3 million and $5 million in arbitration — a lock to be tendered a contract.