Zach Eflin Declines Option With Phillies, Nola’s is Exercised
The first day of business after the World Series is always a busy day. Players that are approaching free agency formally declare free agency. The Phillies saw six players do that: David Robertson, Noah Syndergaard, Chris Devenski, Brad Hand, Kyle Gibson, and Corey Knebel. Then came the question of a couple players with options.
Aaron Nola's $16 million option was picked up by the Phillies. That might have been the easiest decision. Even if the Phillies for some reason decided they did not want to pay $16 million for Nola (which is a bargain, by the way), there would be many suitors in trade. So the obvious option was picked up.
Interestingly, Zach Eflin's option was not picked up... by Eflin himself. Eflin's contract had a $15 million mutual option that both sides could have picked up. Though Eflin did not finish the season as a starting pitcher and has an injury history, Eflin will choose to face the open market rather than opting for $15 million for one year.
Eflin finished out the 2023 season as a key reliever in the Phillies bullpen. Perhaps Eflin is intent on being a starter, despite his relief success. Given a dearth of starting pitchers on the open market, Eflin could be banking on a bigger payday.
The Phillies currently have Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Ranger Suarez as starters in next year's rotation. Bailey Falter, who subbed in that role, could get a shot. Prospects Griff McGarry, Mick Abel, and Andrew Painter all could get opportunities at some point in 2023.
But with Eflin, Syndergaard, and Gibson all free agents, the Phillies will have some offseason work to do.
Check out the Powder Blue Podcast where Frank Klose and Geoff Mosher briefly addressed the 2023 starting rotation: