TAMPA BAY, FL– I will preface this article about the Rays by stating over the years the management has made some strange moves but for the most part the team is always in the mix of making the playoffs.
The latest signing of Zach Eflin to a $40M three-year contract seems strange and unlike what the Rays have done in the past. Their current rotation of Tyler Glasnow, Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen, Jeffry Springs and Corey Kluber was, for the most part, very effective last season. The problem with the Rays was a lack of offense. Why then did the team add another starter when their biggest need was offensive help.
Where does Eflin fit in the rotation? Another question I have is why the Rays are paying Eflin two years at $11M and the last year $18M for a pitcher with a career record of 36-45, an ERA of 4.49 and an average of 94 innings per season.
Kevin Kiermaier, probably the best defensive center fielder in baseball, was not tendered a contract that would have paid him $12M for 2023. Will Eflin win, or contribute to winning, 20 games or would Kiermaier’s defensive skills “save” or contribute to more wins?
Another “twist” to this signing is the fact Eflin will make more money than McClanahan, Springs and Rasmussen combined. What does this do in the clubhouse?
In another questionable deal the Atlanta Braves traded six players, including catcher William Contreras in a three team deal with the Brewers and Athletics. Atlanta obtained catcher Sean Murphy from the Athletics, (yes… one player)!
In addition to trading a boatload of prospects including their #1 prospect, left-handed pitcher Kyle Muller. The following is a brief comparison between Murphy and Contreras:
Contreras vs. Murphy Comparison
Age: WC: 24 — SM: 28
Free Agent Year: WC: 2028 — SM: 2026
Yearly Salary (base on 2022): WC: $710K — SM: $3.3M
Career Years: WC: 3 — SM: 4
Career HR/RBI: WC: 28/69 — SM: 46/147
Career Games: WC: 154 — SM: 329
Statistically, both players are pretty close, however, it appears Atlanta wanted a better defensive catcher. In Murphy, they got it, but Contreras, with coaching, would improve his defensive skills. I think the Braves gave up too much for too little.
And one final question: In 2022 the Braves, with Contreras and d’Arnaud doing the catching won 101 games. With the addition of Murphy, will the Braves win MORE games? Time will tell.
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