The Phillies received some bad news on their rotation today, as Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports (via Twitter) that right-hander Jerad Eickhoff has been diagnosed with a strained lat muscle and will be sidelined for the next six to eight weeks. Eickhoff had been projected to occupy a rotation spot behind newly signed Jake Arrieta and top incumbent starter Aaron Nola. Now, he’ll open the season on the disabled list.
The 27-year-old Eickhoff was considered a secondary or tertiary piece when he was traded from the Rangers to the Phillies in the blockbuster that sent Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman to Texas. However, he quickly emerged as a viable big league starter and has since provided the Phils with 376 1/3 innings of 3.87 ERA ball, averaging 8.0 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 with a 39.2 percent ground-ball rate along the way.
Last season was Eickhoff’s worst in the Majors, as he limped to a 4.71 ERA thanks largely to an uncharacteristic spike in his walk rate (3.7 BB/9). Injuries likely played a part in his substandard control, as he missed time in June with a back strain and would again go on the DL in late August with nerve irritation in his hand — an injury that ultimately ended his season. Certainly, it’s not hard to see how either of those injuries could significantly diminish his control; Eickhoff, for context, averaged just 2.0 walks per nine innings through his first 248 1/3 MLB frames.
The initial estimate for Eickhoff’s absence would leave him out of action until at least the end of April and possibly up through mid-May, depending of course on how he responds to treatment and how his rehab progresses. Salisbury adds in a followup tweet that he’s currently being examined back in Philadelphia, which could give a clearer picture of how his rehab will be laid out.
Eickhoff’s injury improves the chances for fellow rotation hopefuls such as Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter and non-roster invitee Drew Hutchison in Philadelphia. Obviously, as that group of names suggests, the Phils aren’t short on replacement options with some degree of MLB experience. It remains to be seen, though, if the injury will embolden the front office to make a move from outside the organization.
At first glance, this wouldn’t seem to make such a move especially more likely. GM Matt Klentak has previously suggested that the signing of Arrieta likely concluded his team’s offseason spending, and while Eickhoff was one of the team’s more reliable sources of innings, the injury is relatively short-term nature in nature.
Cobb salad time
That would be a big time knee jerk reaction. They have the depth to fill Eickhoffs spot while he’s out. Of course they should be and I’m sure have been at least monitoring Cobbs market.
Welp, this means they’re not moving vinny to the pen any time soon.
At least we can get a look at Lively or Eflin.
There’s nothing really to look at, Lively is a 5th starter/swingman and Eflin is a AAAA pitcher until he learns how to consistently miss bats and/or gets an out pitch. He’s got the fast ball but nothing else. I wouldn’t be opposed to starting Leiter in the rotation allowing them to carry Thompson or Arano as a reliever.
Eshelman should definitely get a chance and be a priority call up this year. He could be a Kyle Hendricks type.
Tom Eshelman needs a spot
I completely agree and I want to see this happen.
The only person happy to hear this news: Ben Lively.
“It remains to be seen, though, if the injury to Hutchison will embolden…” so is Hutchison hurt, too?
i think that was a typo…
leiter jr needs a closer look. he doesn’t have overpowering stuff but his slider is sneaky good and has an impressive range of secondary pitches. mixes velo well and gets Ks and weak contact. i think he has higher upside than lively/thompson/efflin
Agree. Leiter is a victim of not lighting up guns. He’s shown he knows how to pitch in whatever role they’ve thrown at him.
It’s such a shame how blindly enamored organizations are when it comes to velocity. Greg Maddux won 355 games, and he didn’t do it by blowing people away. If a pitcher has good movement and location he can succeed, but everybody wants to see 95+ on the radar gun. Leiter will get his opportunity, but it will probably be by necessity and not the organization’s choice.
ehhh im not so sure if the allure of that blazing-fastball thrower is the same as it was years ago. yea, of course, its great to have guys that can blow hitters away, but teams know that at some point these guys will need to have excellent secondary pitches in order to sustain success, as age inevitably makes it difficult to rely primarily on high-velocity fastballs. Verlander-types dont come around that often; more often we see the guys that have to kinda “reinvent” themselves as their velocity declines. this is one reason why the FO is so confident in Arrieta despite his glaring drop in fastball velocity.
Its Cobb time… not just because Eickhoff’s injury – but with Arietta signed, adding Cobb would just further the push towards being a contender THIS year.
Do it Phillies…. Nola / Arrieta / Cobb / Velasquez / Pivetta is a nice starting 5. w/ Thompson ~ Lively ~ Eflin all ready to go in AAA but all 3 could use more seasoning there.
Add Cobb, and we’d be ahead of the Mets.
Tyler Cravy is still a free agent. Sign him!!!
He’s out 6-8 weeks cause there’s no room in the rotation for him here…..
I think Eickhoff is one of the keys to where the Phils finish in the standings. We expect Nola and Arrieta to pitch well and not to expect much from the 4th & 5th starters. If Eickhoff pitches like he did in 2015/16 the Phil’s would have 3 quality starters. If he pitches like he did in 2017 the rotation will be well below average. Even after the Phils signed Arrieta I thought they should still go after Cobb if they want to compete for a WC this year. Now acquiring another starter becomes that much more important.
Go get Cobb!
Steve Jeltz Gericurl
Liked what I saw from Leiter, especially as a multiple inning reliever, but let’s relax a bit. He showed some potential, but he’s a dime a dozen. Shake a tree and guys like Leiter fall out