I never did understand why Eric Gregg’s strike zone was so out of whack in Livan Hernandez’s favor back in the 1997 playoffs. I’ve considered any number of possibilities, from basic incompetence to some complicated theory in which Livan Hernandez’s acquaintances in the illicit drug business were somehow involved, but all of these theories have flaws.
I just read the best explanation I’ve ever heard. It’s by Jon Bois over at SB Nation and it involves the history of the color teal. Only part of that involves Gregg and Hernandez, but it is a key part. Bonus: for the first time ever, we have a transcript of Gregg’s conversation with Braves hitters during the game:
ERIC GREGG. Strike three!
McGRIFF. That was in the right-handed batter’s box.
GREGG. Sure was.
McGRIFF. The right-handed batter’s box is out of the strike zone.
GREGG. Evidently not, because that was a strike.
I just knew it.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin has agreed to join the Tampa Bay Rays on a three-year, $40 million contract that’s the largest the club has ever awarded in free agency, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity Thursday night because the agreement was subject to a successful physical and had not been announced.
Eflin, who spent portions of seven seasons with the Phillies, will join a rotation that includes All-Star lefty Shane McClanahan and right-handers Tyler Glasnow and Drew Rasmussen with the Rays, who will pay him $11 million in 2023, $11 million in 2024 and $18 million in 2025.
The 28-year-old right-hander began last season as a starter and later worked out of the bullpen for the NL champions, going 3-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 20 appearances. Overall, he has a 36-45 career record with a 4.49 ERA over 127 games, including 115 starts.
He appeared in 10 games as a reliever during Philadelphia’s postseason run this year, going 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA over 10 2/3 innings.
The $40 million commitment to Eflin is the largest the budget-minded Rays have made to a free agent, surpassing the five-year, $35 million contract pitcher Wilson Alvarez signed in 1998, and the two-year, $30 million deal right-hander Charlie Morton received in 2019.