Let’s flash back to the trade deadline.
Picture it. Philadelphia, July, 2018. (Shady Pines, Ma....)
The Phillies were in the lead for National League East and were firing on all cylinders. They still needed an upgrade offensively and set their eyes on the top prize of the trade market - Manny Machado. Of course they weren’t the only ones desiring to add the shortstop to their team, but on more than one occasion, they were the front runners to land him. It was tough to surmise exactly what Baltimore was looking for in return, but it was safe to say that the Phillies matched up well with them.
Then we got our first report about a possible deal.
In Manny Machado trade talks with #Phillies, #Orioles have a better chance to acquire minor league RHP Adonis Medina (No. 2 Philadelphia prospect) than Zach Eflin, who has a 2.97 ERA in 11 @MLB starts this year. @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 5, 2018
Yes, the report, corroborated by the local beats, had the Phillies not wishing to deal from their major league rotation in order to acquire Machado. At the time, it wasn’t the craziest idea, holding on to a valuable piece with loads of contractual control still ahead of him instead of trading him for three months worth of an All-Star. Many of you even agreed!
OK, poll time.— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) July 5, 2018
Would you trade Zach Eflin straight up for 2 months of Manny Machado?
Since that report, Eflin has made 10 starts and compiled a 6.26 ERA in 50 1⁄3 innings. He has surrendered 10 home runs in those innings. He has, in short, been bad. Of course, you could also say that he has come back to earth a bit since he still doesn’t have that go-to strikeout pitch that can help his profile rise above that of a #4 or 5 pitcher in a rotation. Hindsight is of course 20/20, but with the way he has pitched and this team has hit, even with Machado not lighting the world on fire, would any of you like a do over with that proposed trade? Of course, I don’t want to say I told you so, but.....
They actually would and wouldn’t blink twice— Ethan Witte (@ethan_witte) July 5, 2018
Tonight was just another example of Eflin and the need for his removal from the rotation. He hasn’t been good, but thanks to the lack of other reliable options, he’s remained. It’s gotten to the point where it’s fair to wonder if perhaps teams are ready for him when he begins a game.
Three big hits by Mets against Eflin's slider. It's flat, but it almost looks like they know it's coming. Phils trail 6-0— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) September 9, 2018
Seeing Jerad Eickhoff get into the game in encouraging, even if his results weren’t. Is he the one that can take over for Eflin, or with Lehigh Valley’s season ending tonight, does someone like Cole Irvin or Enyel De Los Santos enter the rotation?
This game was really just blech. They had 14 hits, six walks but only 5 runs. They left runners on base, hit into some bad luck and just generally looked like they were resigned to their fate early in the game. The game felt like a loss very early. Some nice things were the big game from Cesar Hernandez, he of the horrendous slump lately (.594 OPS since July 30). Rhys Hoskins homered again for the second night in a row. Maybe he’ll get hot and go on one of his streaks that typically carries this offense. Who knows, but as of now, this team dropped another opportunity to take a series from the Mets. At least they won yesterday and still have a chance tomorrow. Let’s just take a look at the ole’ pitching matchup for Sunday’s series finale.