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Phillies move Zach Eflin to bullpen

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Phillies starter Zach Eflin has been taken out of the starting rotation and moved to the bullpen, at least temporarily, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. This comes on the heels of the Phillies’ acquisition of starter Jason Vargas from the Mets.

Eflin, 25, got off to a terrific start to the season, carrying a 2.83 ERA through his first 14 starts. Over his last six starts, however, he has given up 36 runs (31 earned) on 47 hits and nine walks with 19 strikeouts spanning 26 2/3 innings.

Neither the Phillies’ rotation nor the bullpen has been reliable this season, but the rotation is a bit easier for the club to patch than the bullpen. The bullpen is currently operating without David Robertson, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, Seranthony Domínguez, Vìctor Arano, and Edubray Ramos.

Eflin, to his credit, was realistic about his demotion. He said, “If I don’t like it, I should pitch better. I hadn’t really been doing my job. Going to the bullpen is another opportunity for me. It’s a challenge. I’m a fan of challenges. Go down there and be the best version of myself I can be.” He added, “I still believe wholeheartedly that I’m a starter.”

Hinch, Luhnow, will be eligible in 2021 even if there are no games in 2020

A.J. Hinch (left) and Jeff Luhnow (right)
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You no doubt recall that former Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch and ex-Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow were given the one-year bans and were subsequently fired in January due to the Astros sign-stealing scandal. It’s possible, however, that each of them could be back in baseball without having missed a single game.

That’s the report from Buster Olney of ESPN, who has learned that Hinch and Luhnow will become eligible in 2021 even if there are no games played in the 2020 season. The reason: Hinch and Luhnow’s suspensions are tied to “the end of the 2020 postseason.” In contrast, players who are suspended for PED offenses for violations of the league’s domestic violence policies are suspended for a set number of games. Their suspensions will not begin until games begin and, if the number of games in the 2020 season ends up being fewer than the number of games in their suspension, it will carry over to 2021.

It would not shock me a bit if another team hired Hinch at some point down the road. And, despite the league’s finding that Luhnow fostered a “toxic” environment in the Astros’ front office, I would not be at all surprised if he were hired as some sort of advisor down the road and, potentially, found himself running a team again. His tenure in Houston was discovered to be objectively awful from an ethical perspective, but (a) he won; and (b) he cut costs, and those are the two biggest priorities for most teams. Not necessarily in that order.