3 Former Phillies players we'll be glad are gone, and 2 we'll wish stayed

Zach Eflin, formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies
Zach Eflin, formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages
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The Phillies rotation will not feature Zach Eflin for the first time since the 2015 season.

Among the Phillies' first offseason transactions following their disappointing finish to the 2022 World Series was right-handed starting pitcher-turned-postseason reliever Zach Eflin declining his $15 million mutual option.

About a month later, Eflin signed a three-year, $40 million contract with the Tampa Bay Rays — the largest financial commitment to a free agent in the Phillies' 2008 World Series rival's history.

Losing Eflin may have seemed disappointing yet inconsequential at the time, but now, the Phillies could have really used him — considering Ranger Suárez and Andrew Painter are injured and Bailey Falter and Matt Strahm are getting starting nods as their replacements for at least the first week of the season. The Phillies simply chose to spend elsewhere.

It is ironic because Eflin dealt with his fair share of injuries over the years, but he did throw 659 1/3 valuable innings across seven seasons with the team from 2016 to 2022. Perhaps he was most valuable during the shortened 2020 season, recording four wins and a 70-15 strikeouts-to-walks ratio across 59 innings. Eflin also notably tossed a combined 6 1/3 scoreless innings between the NLCS and World Series — the most important outs of his career to date.

Rays manager Kevin Cash recently confirmed that Eflin will start the Rays' second game of the regular season this Saturday against the Detroit Tigers.

Once acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the deal that sent franchise hits leader Jimmy Rollins to the National League West, Eflin will surely be missed.