Phillies and Zach Eflin avoid arbitration, agree on a $5.7M deal for 2022 with a mutual option for 2023
The Philadelphia Phillies and RHP Zach Eflin have avoided arbitration and have agreed on a deal for the 2022 season. The deal for 2022 will be $5.7M, with a mutual option of $15MM for the 2023 season.
A few weeks ago we wrote about how Eflin was being shortchanged by the Phillies front office over what amounts to $1.2M. It was a worrying sign that Dave Dombrowski had been unable to reach an agreement with one of his most important pitchers. If the two sides failed to reach an agreement there would be an arbitration hearing during the season, in what would certainly be a distraction for the team and Eflin.
Eflin was one of nine Phillies players that were eligible for arbitration immediately following last season and the only one that had been unable to strike a deal with the organization.
This is great news.
Eflin’s representatives had made the case that his salary should be $6.9MM while the Phillies believed the number should be closer to $5.15MM. Both sides could have gotten involved in what amounts to a contentious labor dispute over what is Eflin’s true value to the team. Instead the Phillies made the right choice for the clubhouse and their reputation by meeting Eflin’s camp roughly in the middle at $5.7MM.
Both sides were also able to come to an agreement on a mutual option for 2023. But Eflin will almost certainly decline his side of the option and choose to become a free agent in search of a multi-year deal. The Phillies will be able to negotiate that long term deal with Eflin, let him walk, or offer him a ‘Qualifying Offer’, which amounts to approximately a one year deal for $18MM.
Based on Eflin’s strong metrics and the fact that starting pitchers his age, 28, have been receiving richer deals on the open market over the past few seasons, it is unlikely that the Phillies will be able to keep Zach without a major financial commitment. The tall right hander would be one of the better starting pitchers to reach free agency next offseason and even though he profiles as a middle of the rotation arm, it’s a good bet that teams will be lining up to overpay for his services.
As much as I believe Eflin is a talented pitcher and one of the better third options in a rotation in the National League, this feels his last season in the red pinstripes. The Phillies will gain some payroll flexibility this off season when the contracts of Didi Gregorius and Jean Segura come off the books. But they will still have plenty of holes to fill including in the outfield and bullpen that probably should be addressed before paying above market value for a third starter. The recent ascension of Ranger Suarez also provides the Phillies with the perfect replacement for Eflin’s missing innings.
The right-handers deal has performance bonuses as well, including $50k for reaching 100 and 125 innings, $75K for 150 innings, and a $125K bonus for 175 innings.
Zach Eflin is 1-3 on the year with a 3.65 ERA in seven starts. He’s tallied 37 total innings on the mound, striking out a total of 35 batters, while walking just seven. He’s allowed 35 hits, 15 earned runs, and has tallied a WAR of 0.6, with a WHIP of 1.14.
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Zach Eflin’s next start is set for Friday night at 7:10 when the Phillies travel from Atlanta to New York to take on the Mets in a three-game series.
The Phillies are back in action tonight, looking to take their second consecutive game against the Atlanta Braves.