This is a small roster move for the Phillies that nevertheless represents a larger problem for the roster: starting rotation depth. For most of this season, the Phillies five-man rotation of Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Kyle Gibson, Zach Eflin, and Ranger Suarez has been healthy and effective. Phillies’ starters rank first in the Majors by the measure of fWAR. But at the end of June, both Suarez and Eflin landed on the injured list. Suarez is now back, but as for Eflin, questions remain.
The Phillies have no timetable for when Eflin might return to the active roster, per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb. Eflin’s dealing with a knee that’s twice been surgically repaired in the last six years. Eflin’s timetable could swing the Phillies decision-making strategy regarding the upcoming trade deadline, notes Gelb. If he’s not looking any better in the next week so, Philadelphia could feel encouraged to make a move for a starting pitcher.
The NL East has become a bit of a two-team conversation between the Mets and Braves, but the Phillies still have time to elbow their way into the race. If nothing else, they’re firmly in contention for a wild card spot. This team has been pushing hard for years to make the postseason, and there’s no reason to think they’re going to take their foot off the gas now. If indeed they are intent on making a postseason run, then acquiring some rotation insurance should be pretty high up on their list of trade deadline targets.
For now, Falter will step into the rotation. The 25-year-old lefty has made nine appearances for the Phillies this season, five of them starts, with a 4.82 ERA/5.37 FIP across 28 innings. He’s been stellar through seven starts in Triple-A, posting a 1.56 ERA/2.46 FIP over 34 2/3 innings.