Phillies Creatively Option Eflin to Triple-A, Add Bour
The Phillies were facing a roster crunch. How would they find room for newly-acquired Justin Bour? What would it mean for the bench, who could use the defense? The Phillies found a creative way: the club optioned pitcher Zach Eflin to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies have an off-day and a double-header scheduled within the next week. So the Phillies will apparently bring Eflin back as the 26th man for Thursday's double-header, a game he was likely to start all along. Then, he can can return on Tuesday the 21st or Wednesday the 22nd in Washington after another off day.
Then the Phillies will have to find some roster space to get them to September 1 when rosters expand.
The move means both Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford will remain on the major league roster through the 21st, alongside Bour. Bour cannot play any position other than first base, which means the Phillies could really use the versatility of Kingery and Crawford to back up the infield until then.
The 26th man was not designed for this type of use. There are some negative consequences, including Eflin losing major league service time and major league pay. The Phillies could make it up to him, if they wanted to. But with two days off and a double-header, the Phillies found a creative way to essentially give their roster a 26th man not just for a double-header, but 10 days.