The Guardians have signed right-handers Jerad Eickhoff and Riley Smith to non-roster contracts, according to an announcement from GuardsInsider (Twitter links). Both pitchers have been assigned to Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland also indicated that left-hander Daniel Norris went unclaimed on outright waivers after being designated for assignment earlier in the week.
Eickhoff, 33 next month, returns to affiliated ball in search of an eighth big league season. A former Ranger draftee who was sent to the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade, Eickhoff broke in as a decent back-of-the-rotation arm in Philadelphia. He struggled between 2017-19 and has only gotten brief looks in the last two seasons.
After making five appearances with the Mets in 2021, Eickhoff took a lone start for the Pirates last year. He was hit hard in those stints, surrendering 34 runs in his last 24 MLB innings. Eickhoff had spent most of last season in Triple-A with the Bucs, posting a 4.96 ERA with solid strikeout and walk numbers (22.5% and 6.3%, respectively) through 114 1/3 frames. He’d been pitching in the independent Atlantic League this year, allowing a 6.16 ERA over 49 2/3 innings.
Smith made 30 appearances for the Diamondbacks between 2020-21. He owns a 5.04 ERA over 85 2/3 MLB frames. The LSU product spent last season in the Rockies’ system. An assignment to Triple-A Albuquerque, a brutal environment for pitchers, didn’t go well. Smith allowed an 8.06 ERA through 92 2/3 innings.
Whether Norris will join Eickhoff and Smith in Columbus remains to be seen. The veteran has more than enough service time to decline the assignment in favor of free agency. Norris signed a minor league contract in Spring Training. He posted a 6.93 ERA with middling strikeout and walk rates in 14 outings (nine starts). The Guardians called him up for a two-inning big league appearance earlier this week but quickly took him back off the roster thereafter.