RHP Jerad Eickhoff signs minor league deal with Padres

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Jerad Eickhoff will compete for a roster spot this spring with the San Diego Padres.

According to 14 Sports News, the San Diego Padres signed Jerad Eickhoff to a minor league deal.

The former 15th round pick signed during the Christmas holiday and will battle for a roster spot this spring in Peoria. “I’ll be going to big league camp and trying to win a job out of camp, so it’ll be two months in Arizona and see what happens there,” Eickhoff said to 14 Sports News.

The former Phillies’ right-handed pitcher owns a career record of 21-30 with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.280 WHIP in 440 innings pitched. In 2019, Eickhoff started strong for Philadelphia but was ultimately shelved with biceps tendinitis. His year ended with a 3-4 record and a 5.71 ERA in 12 games and ten starts. Injuries derailed him for the past two seasons, but he can prove to be excellent value for the Friars.

Eickhoff is armed with a fastball that typically sits in the low 90’s. His money-maker is a tight-breaking 12-to-6 curveball that generates plenty of swings and misses. The 29-year-old showed improvement on a slider as well. The pitch is needed for him to be genuinely effective. New pitching coach Larry Rothschild just happens to be a slider specialist, and that can be huge for this pitcher.

The 6-foot-4 hurler is crafty and not a typical pitcher you see around the majors in this day and age. Relying on changing speeds and flipping up his curve in the low 70’s results in plenty of weak contact from Eickhoff when he is doing well. The native of Evansville, Indiana (where former Padres’ #1 pick Andy Benes was born) has traditionally started games, but might be capable of filling a long-relief role for the Padres in 2020.

It is interesting to note that the pitcher points to his connections with Jayce Tingler as a determining factor in signing with the Padres this winter. “I got a lot of connections from former Rangers executives, and the manager now with the Padres, I know pretty well from the Rangers organization, so I’m gonna be under some familiar eyes out there, so I’m looking forward to getting connected with them again and showing them what I can do,” Eickhoff told 14 Sports News.

The pitching staff is crowded presently. Jerad Eickhoff will need to battle to earn a spot on the major league roster. With a little luck and some hard work, this right-handed pitcher can be an excellent reclamation project for the San Diego Padres.

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