The Padres have agreed to a minor-league deal with righty Jerad Eickhoff, the former Phillies hurler recently told Aaron Hancock of Indiana’s 14 News. Eickhoff adds that he received an invitation to participate in the MLB side of Spring Training.
Now 29 years of age, Eickhoff broke into the majors with aplomb back in 2015. He was again effective in the ensuing season, when he threw 197 1/3 innings of 3.65 ERA ball with 7.6 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. To that stage of his career, Eickhoff seemed like he’d be a solid rotation piece for years to come for the Philadelphia organization.
As it turned out, things would turn south from there. Eickhoff dipped in 2017, with a 4.71 ERA over 128 innings, which he accumulated while dealing with a variety of injury issues. The health problems continued in the following campaign, with a lat injury turning into numbness in his fingers that was eventually diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Eickhoff has worked hard to get on the bump as much as possible, but he has managed only 63 2/3 MLB innings over the past two seasons. And though he managed a useful 62:18 K/BB ratio in that span, Eickhoff was tagged for 19 home runs. He also struggled in minor-league work in 2019.
The Padres will try to help Eickhoff rediscover his former promise. Tamping down the persistent hand issues will obviously be a key. At worst, Eickhoff figures to function as experienced depth; perhaps there’s also a glimmer of upside remaining for him and the San Diego organization. Padres GM A.J. Preller is amply familiar with Eickhoff, having helped draft the hurler in his former capacity as assistant GM of the Rangers.