Despite equal financial offer, Red Sox lose out on free agent starting pitcher
December 2nd, 2022
When the Red Sox fail to sign targeted players in free agency, the team’s lack of willingness to spend is almost always the first thing brought up. For their latest pursuit though, that explanation doesn’t apply.
On Thursday, MLB Network’s Joel Sherman reported the Tampa Bay Rays were signing righty Zach Eflin to a three-year, $40 million deal – the largest free agency deal in franchise history. Did the pitcher-needy Red Sox once again come up short in negotiations?
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Well, yes and no. The Red Sox were in on Eflin and failed to sign him, but the issue wasn’t financial. In fact, they offered the exact same contract as the Rays as first reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
So, what happened? Location, location, location. According to Alex Speier of The Boston Globe, “Eflin – who lives in Orlando, Fla. – reached out to the Rays to see if they would match the offer. They did, so Eflin reached an agreement with Tampa Bay on the same three-year, $40 million to head home. The Sox were not given a further opportunity to negotiate.”
There plenty to fault the Red Sox for in the ways they’ve handled this offseason early on. That being said, ‘not being based closer to where Zach Eflin lives’ isn’t exactly a Chaim Bloom or ownership issue. It’s not uncommon for players to want to play close to home.
Still, for the second time this week the Red Sox find themselves on the outside looking in to signing an experienced free agent at a position of need. It’s back to the drawing board as MLB free agency continues.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarthor via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.