The Phillies have moved right-hander Jerad Eickhoff from the starting rotation to the bullpen, manager Gabe Kapler told reporters Tuesday (Twitter link via Matt Breen of Philly.com). The Phils have not yet determined who’ll start in his place, but Kapler ruled out top prospect Adonis Medina as an option, Breen notes.
Eickhoff, 28, made an impressive return to the Phillies’ rotation earlier this year after some prolonged injury troubles, pitching to a 1.50 ERA through his first five games of the season. Since that time, he’s been tagged for 27 runs in 27 1/3 innings while yielding a sky-high 16 home runs (five in his most recent outing). Injuries limited Eickhoff to just 5 1/3 innings in 2018 and a total of 133 1/3 innings from 2017-18, but he did give the Phillies 197 innings of 3.65 ERA ball back in 2016. If Eickhoff’s struggles continue in relief, he does have minor league options remaining.
Rotation alternatives in the big league bullpen include Ranger Suarez and Vince Velasquez, while Triple-A hurlers Cole Irvin, Enyel De Los Santos and Drew Anderson are all on the 40-man roster as well. The Phillies could also explore the idea of utilizing an opener or even look for another option outside the organization.
It’s been a rough year for Phillies starters, as Nick Pivetta has been inconsistent while neither Aaron Nola nor Jake Arrieta has pitched to expectations. Nola and Arrieta, in particular, have seen their struggles coincide with those of Eickhoff. The Phillies still have a 15-13 record over the past month despite their ineffective rotation, but the Braves have substantially closed the gap in what is now a tied division by playing at a 17-9 pace over that same stretch. Philadelphia is widely expected to be aggressive on the trade market this winter, and the rotation looks to be an increasingly logical target area for general manager Matt Klentak and his staff.