Atlanta Braves Reportedly Eyeing Former Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher

With major starting pitching concerns, the Philadelphia Phillies' rivals could be targeting one of their former arms as a trade deadline addition.
Apr 2, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Zach Eflin (24)
Apr 2, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Zach Eflin (24) / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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The Philadelphia Phillies are enjoying a red-hot start to the year that has seen their offense become dominant once again after a concerning cold stretch at the front end of the season. That is pairing well with their starting rotation who has been lights out, and the bullpen who is starting to find their form.

All of that has culminated in them holding the best record in Major League Baseball.

Their profile suggests this isn't a fluke either. The roster is loaded with established stars who are hungry to put together a successful year.

After being out of the division race almost as soon as it started last season, the situation has completely flipped in 2024 with the Phillies holding a five game lead over the Atlanta Braves who have dominated the NL East for the past half decade.

With the Braves looking for roster upgrades, namely in their starting rotation after losing their ace Spencer Strider for the year, they reportedly are looking at one of Philadelphia's past pitchers.

"Atlanta is keeping a close eye on Tampa Bay Rays veteran starter Zach Eflin if they decide they need another starter at the trade deadline," reports Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.

The right-hander has been a solid addition for the Tampa Bay Rays so far after they handed him the largest free agent contract in their franchise's history last offseason which came in at three years and $40 million.

He led the American League in wins during 2023 with 16 and threw the most innings of his career with 177 2/3 over 31 starts. His ERA was 3.50 and ERA+ 119, signaling he could be someone slotted at the top of their rotation alongside other elite arms.

It makes sense why Atlanta is looking towards Zach Eflin to be a potential trade candidate.

Despite him having a down season compared to 2023, as he sits with a 4.29 ERA across 10 starts, he would still give them another starting option and someone who could be used out of the bullpen if needed.

Of course, if this trade were to take place, that would add to the already complicated relationship with the 30-year-old for Phillies fans.

Eflin was acquired by Philadelphia in December 2014 that shipped out the beloved shortstop and face of the franchise Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He never quite lived up to the hype, finishing his seven seasons with a 4.49 ERA and 95 ERA+, prompting fans to never quite embrace him after they dealt Rollins.

If he goes and pitches for the archenemy, then that would certainly bring another interesting chapter to this saga.


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Brad Wakai

BRAD WAKAI

Brad Wakai graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Journalism. While an undergrad, he did work at the student radio station covering different Penn State athletic programs like football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and other sports. Brad currently is the Lead Contributor for Nittany Lions Wire of Gannett Media where he continues to cover Penn State athletics. He is also a contributor at FanSided, writing about the Philadelphia 76ers for The Sixers Sense. Brad is the host of the sports podcast I Said What I Said, discussing topics across the NFL, College Football, the NBA and other sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @bwakai