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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Phillies agree to 2019 contract with pitcher Jerad Eickhoff

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Eickhoff will provide rotation insurance to the 2019 Phillies

After reaching a one-year deal with arbitration-eligible reliever Hector Neris this afternoon, the Phillies have now reportedly agreed to a contract with another pitcher as well.
This time it was 28-year-old right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, who missed nearly all of the 2018 season due to a lat injury that had also bothered him early in the 2017 campaign.
A native of Evansville, Indiana, Eickhoff was the Texas Rangers pick in the 15th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft out of Olney Central College in Illinois.
Rising through the Texas farm system, Eickhoff reached the Double-A level. Then at the trade deadline on July 31, 2015, Eickhoff was one of four prospects dealt to the Phillies from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman.
Eickhoff quickly reached Philadelphia, making his big-league debut with the Phillies by tossing six shutout innings at Miami less than a month after the trade. He would make eight total starts over that final month-and-a-half, with the last four of those as seven-inning Quality Start efforts.
As a member of the starting rotation in 2016, Eickhoff went 11-14 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.160 WHIP. He allowed just 187 hits over 197.1 innings across 33 starts that year with a 167:42 K/BB ratio.
During a 2017 season interrupted first by the lat injury and later by an injured finger, Eickoff slipped to a 4.71 ERA and 1.523 WHIP over 24 starts.
Eickhoff made eight starts across three minor league levels as he worked his way back in the 2018 season. Then over three September appearances with the Phillies he allowed 10 hits over 5.1 innings, striking out 11 opposition batters but walking none.
On October 1, Eickhoff underwent carpal tunnel surgery. In her fine piece on that situation, Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic quoted new Phillies pitching coach Chris Young: “…with Eick, it’s how much trust we all have in the person that gives me very little doubt that he’s going to come back and be as good or better than he was."


Jim Salisbury at NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Eickhoff received a $975,000 deal for 2019. That would nearly double his salary from what he has earned in each of his first three big-league seasons.
It’s hard to know what Eickhoff’s exact role will be in the coming season for the Phillies. He is likely to come to spring training battling returnees Nick PivettaVince Velasquez, and Zach Eflin for one of the final three spots in the starting rotation.
The Phillies could also still add a veteran left-hander to their rotation via trade or free agency as well. Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta will front the rotation, assuming both remain healthy.
More likely is that Eickhoff begins the year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, providing veteran experienced insurance in case of injuries to the Phillies rotation. There he would be in a mix with pitchers such as Enyel De Los Santos and Ranger Suarez, who each made their big-league debut in the 2018 season.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as "Jerad Eickhoff agrees to one-year contract with Phillies"

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