Underrated MLB free agency signings that could impact Yankees

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Zach Eflin, Tampa Bay Rays

Committing three years to Zach Eflin, a former Phillies starter turned playoff closer, feels like the Rays extended themselves beyond their typical means. If any other team had done this, the baseball world would laugh; Eflin posted a 4.04 ERA in 75.2 innings of his comeback season last year, striking out 65 and relying on the ground ball. He was a strange closer, but somehow, he managed. And somehow managing is the Rays' whole deal.

Eflin's three-year, $40 million commitment represents the largest free agent deal in Tampa Bay Rays history, an utterly insane figure that continues to inspire the Yankees to spend less every year. After all, if the Rays can dominate with the Eflin deal as their ceiling, why can't New York do the same?

Except ... the Rays actually haven't broken through yet. They've made the World Series twice. They've never won it. They're usually a surprisingly easy postseason out, no matter what they've accomplished in the regular season (see: 2021 ALDS against Boston).

That said, if they target a pitcher, they're probably correct to do so. If they pay a somewhat-anonymous pitcher their largest FA contract ever (and outbid the Red Sox to do it), they're probably on the right track. If they extend Jeffery Springs, too, they're ready for battle with a rotation and bullpen of create-a-players.

This shouldn't work, but it presumably will.