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NY Mets: Five most valuable minor league deals this offseason

BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: New York Mets players watch from the dugout during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Sahlen Field on September 11, 2020 in Buffalo, United States. Mets beat the Blue Jays 18 to 1. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: New York Mets players watch from the dugout during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Sahlen Field on September 11, 2020 in Buffalo, United States. Mets beat the Blue Jays 18 to 1. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
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Mets minor league deal #3: Jerad Eickhoff

Considering that the Mets pitching staff was unable to remain healthy in 2020, it is always a good idea to have as much pitching depth as possible. For this reason, the Mets giving Jerad Eickhoff a minor league deal makes a lot of sense. The Mets also happen to be familiar with him.

Eickhoff has spent the majority of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, and has pitched against the Mets often in his career thus far. As I mentioned in a previous article, Eickhoff may not be a strikeout machine, but he could help the Mets fill out their rotation in the event of injuries. Eickhoff is a prototype starting pitcher: He has four pitches that he throws regularly: a fourseam fastball, curveball, slider, and sinker. He was a fairly effective fly ball pitcher, using his curveball to induce easy fly outs.

Over the past few years though, Eickhoff has struggled to remain healthy, and that has severely impacted his overall performance. After only pitching around five innings in 2018, he landed on the injured list twice in 2019, suffering tendinitis in his right bicep and then a laceration on his right middle finger. Because of the injuries that Eickhoff has dealt with, he is four years removed from his most productive season.

At this point in his career, Eickhoff is not likely to make it as a productive starter. However, he could find himself getting opportunities in the bullpen if he can show the Mets that he is healthy and his offspeed pitches regain the same zip they had when he was with Philadelphia. If he can prove both of these things, Eickhoff could potentially be used by the Mets in the event of injuries or as a taxi bullpen arm, shuttling back and forth between the majors and the minors to prevent overtaxing the team’s bullpen regulars.

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