Classic Player Profiles: Dave Eiland

Player: Dave Eiland

Born: July 5th, 1966 (Currently 48 years old)

Drafted: On June 2nd, 1987 in the 7th round (pick #185) of the MLB draft by the New York Yankees out of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida at the age of 20

Position: SP and MR

Start of Tenure: Signed as a Free Agent on December 17th, 1997

End of Tenure: Released on October 12th, 2000

Teams: New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, *Cleveland Indians, *Texas Rangers, *St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, and the *Oakland Athletics

* - Didn't appear in a MLB game

Retired: 2001, a career span of 14 years (1987-2001)

Rays Stat Line: -0.5 WAR, 6-12 (W-L), 6.54 ERA, 4.81 FIP, 39 G, 137.2 IP, 71 SO, 4.6 SO/9

Dave Eiland was drafted in the Summer of 1987 by the New York Yankees in the 11th round. He signed only a couple of days later on June 4th, 1987. The Yankees assigned Eiland to their A- ball in Oneonta, New York in the New York Penn-League. Eiland made 5 starts with Oneonta, going 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA, earning him a call up to Buck Showalter's Ft. Lauderdale Yankees at A+ ball in the Florida State League. Eiland made 8 starts in the FSL to close out the year in Ft. Lauderdale with a 5-3 record and a 1.88 ERA. Eiland established himself as a control pitcher, only averaging 4.3 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 between the 2 levels.

In 1988, Eiland was assigned to AA-ball in Colonie, New York in the Eastern League. Eiland made 18 starts for Colonie going 9-5 with a 2.56 ERA, earning him a promotion in July to Bucky Dent's Columbus Clippers at AAA+ ball in the International League in Columbus, Ohio. In 4 starts for the Clippers, Eiland went 1-1 with a 2.54 ERA. In August, the Yankees called up their young righty and on August 3rd, 1988, Eiland made his Major League debut in County Stadium against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Yankees gave Eiland an early lead in the top of the 1st, when they started the game with 3 consecutive singles by Ricky Henderson, Claudell Washington, and Don Mattingly. Than the Yankees' 1B, Jack Clark, grounded into a forceout to score Washington, making the score 2-0. Brewers' pitcher, Bill Wegman, would limit the damage to only 2 runs. In the bottom of the 1st, Eiland made his debut, set to go against Paul Molitor, Jim Gatner, and Robin Yount. Eiland got ahead of Molitor and him 0-2. His next pitch would be a ball, making the count 1-2, on the next pitch, Molitor welcomed Eiland to the Majors with a Solo-HR to Center Field. Eiland than walked Gatner, but was able to settle down and retire the next 3 batters he faced, at the end of 1, the score was 2-1 Yankees. Eiland wouldn't allow another hit until Gatner singled the bottom of the 6th, meanwhile Jack Clark had homered and Mattingly had an RBI sacrifice fly to make the score 4-1 Yankees. Eiland would give up 1 more hit in the bottom of the 7th, to Brewers' LF Jeffrey Leonard. Eiland would get a double play ball from Brewers' RF Rob Deer to erase Leonard, and to retire the side, EIland got DH Joey Meyer to fly out to Henderson in center. In the top of the 8th, Yankees DH, Ken Phelps, hit a Solo-HR to cushion the Yankees' lead 5-1. Dave Righetti came on in relief for Eiland and immediately gave up the lead, allowing hits to 5 of the 6 batters he faced before Yankees' Manager, Lou Pinella, brought on Cecilio Guante. Guante allowed a run to score with a double by Rob Deer to score Cecil Fielder making the score 6-5. The Brewers' Closer, Dan Plesac would retire the Yankees in order in the top of the 9th to secure the win and gain his 26th save of the year.

In Eiland's MLB debut, he went 7 innings, allowing 3 hits and only 1 run. He was in position for the win, but the Yankees bullpen blew the lead. Unfortunately, Eiland's next 2 starts didn't go as well. On August 11th, Eiland couldn't get out of the 2nd inning and was taken out after the Toronto Blue Jays' C, Ernie Whitt, had hit his 2nd home run of the game off him. On August 17th, Eiland went against the California Angels and was having a better outing, he did give up 2 runs through the 1st 4 innings though. In the top of the 5th, with the Yankees up 7-2, Eiland allowed 3 straight hits to Devon White, Johnny Ray, and Wally Joyner. Those hits resulted in 1 run, and the end of Eiland's night. Yankees' reliever, Steve Shields, would allow both inherited runners to score on a Chili Davis Ground-Rule Double and a Thad Bosley Sacrifice Fly. The Angels eventually tied the game, but the Yankees won the game 11-7, afterwards, Eiland was sent back down to Columus, where he would finish the season.

In 1989, Eiland was assigned to Columbus and put up solid numbers there again, going 9-4 with a 3.76 ERA in 18 starts. This resulted in another call up to New York in the middle of June. On June 17th, 1989, Eiland earned his 1st MLB win against the Texas Rangers. He pitched to 1 batter (Rafael Palmeiro) in the 8th, but he singled to end Eiland's night. Dave Righetti would get the Sammy Sosa, Rangers' lead-off man, to ground out to secure his 11th save and Eiland's 1st MLB win. Eiland's final line on the day was 7 IP, 7H, 3 ER, 4 BB, and 3 SO. He would follow up that performance with 2 more solid outings. On June 23rd, in Kansas City, Eiland again pitched into the 8th inning, but fell victim to a silent offense as Royals' pitcher, Mark Gubicza, shut out the Yankees. That was Eiland's 1st MLB loss. On June 18th, in Detroit, Eiland was the victim of another poor bullpen performance. He pitched into the 8th, with a 5-3 lead. He retired Scott Lusader to open the inning, but than Tracy Jones hit a solo HR to end Eiland's night. Yankees' manager, Dallas Green, would bring in Righetti, who allowed the Tigers to tie the game on a Lou Whitaker double and an Alan Trammel single. Sparky Anderson's Tigers would eventually win in the bottom of the tenth on a walk-off HR from Lou Whitaker off of Righetti.

In Eiland's next 3 starts, he struggled to get out of the 5th inning, only getting in the 6th, once. After back to back poor outings, on July 14th, Eiland was tabbed to pitch game 1 of a double header in New York against Kansas City. He was going up against Royals' ace, Bret Saberhagen, so Eiland had to be on point (he wasn't). In the top of the 3rd, the game was tied when Royals CF, Willie Wilson, hit a solo HR to right. Keven Seitzer hit a bunt single to bring up George Brett. With an 0-1 count, Brett launched a 2-run HR to right to make it 3-0 Royals. Eiland sent the Royals down in order in the top of the 4th. In the top of the 5th, Eiland allowed 3 straight hits to end his night. Yankees reliever, Lance McCullers, hit Brett with a pitch, than allowed back to back singled to allow the inherited runners to score, plus Brett and Danny Tartabull. Eiland's final line was 4 IP, 9H, 6 ER, 1BB, and 3 SO.

In 1990, Eiland again had good numbers in Columbus going 16-5 with a 2.87 ERA in 26 starts. He was called up to New York in September and on September 10th, 1990, Eiland made potentially his best start of his career. The game took place in New York and was against the Texas Rangers. He retired the 1st 8 batters he faced, and didn't face any real trouble until the top of the 8th. With 1 out, Steve Buechele, the Texas Rangers' 3B, singled to left. Than Jeff Hudson, the Rangers' SS, singled to left, but Buechele ran too far past 2nd and the Yankees' LF, Hensley Meulens, threw out Buechele at 2nd. Eiland got Gary Pettis to ground out to end the inning, he would pitch to 1 batter in the 9th, Julio Franco. Eiland had Franco 0-2, when Franco hit long fly ball to center that just missed being a HR. Yankees' Manager Stump Merrill removed Eiland from game, giving him a line of 8.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, and 5 SO. Unfortunately for Eiland, and the Yankees, the Rangers' pitcher, Scott Chiamparino had almost as a good a night as Eiland. The game went into extras, and eventually won by the Rangers in 11 innings, 1-0. A young Rangers' southpaw, Kenny Rogers, won the game in relief. Eiland had mixed results in the starts that followed, and ended the season with back to back victories against the Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers.

In 1991, Eiland made his 1st MLB opening day roster and was tabbed in 3rd in the Yankees rotation behind Tim Leary and Scott Sanderson. Unfortunately, Eiland struggled in his 1st 9 starts and was sent back down to Columbus at the end of May. Again, Eiland put up good numbers in AAA and in August he was back in New York. Eiland made back to back poor starts in his return, so the Yankees moved him to the bullpen. Eiland didn't have consistency in his bullpen outings though, sometimes going a couple of innings of good relief, or a bad inning allowing a few runs. At the end of the season, he was back in a starting role and closed the season out on a good note with a 7 IP, 2 ER, win against Cleveland.

The Yankees released Eiland on January 18th, 1992. A little over a week later, the San Diego Padres signed the 25 year old pitcher on the 27th. Eiland again made the Opening Day roster and was slated 5th in the Padres rotation behind Craig Lefferts, Andy Benes, Greg Harris, and Bruce Hurst. In Eiland's first start of the season, he made MLB history when he became the 1st player to allow a HR to the 1st batter he faced in his career and to have also hit a HR in his first MLB AB. On April 10th, 1992, Eiland connected against the Dodgers' Bob Ojeda to become the only player to accomplish that feat.

Unfortunately after that, Eiland suffered through the 1st month of the season and finally went on the DL in May with back spasms. When he returned, he didn't fare much better and was sent to the Padres' AAA team, the Las Vegas Stars, in the Pacific Coast League. Eiland only made 7 starts for the Padres and averaged a bit more than 3 innings per start. He didn't fare much better in Vegas either, putting up the worst numbers of his career in the minors. In December of 1992, the Padres released Eiland, only to than resign him on February 28th, 1993.

Eiland again was the Padres 5th starter out of Spring Training and he made back to back quality starts to open the season. Eiland's performance steadily declined though, and after a disastrous start on May 23rd against the Houston Astros where he allowed 6 runs in 1.1 IP, including a HR to a young Astros' 2B (Craig Biggio), he was moved to the bullpen. Eiland only made 1 appearance out of the pen for the Padres, before being granted his released on May 27th. Two days later, on the 29th, Eiland signed with the Cleveland Indians. The Indians assigned Eiland to their AAA team, the Charlotte Knights managed by Charlie Manuel. That team also featured a 22 year old 1B named Jim Thome and Cleveland's #1 and MLB's #13 ranked prospect, a 21 year old OF, Manny Ramirez. Eiland had made 8 starts in Charlotte, than on August 4th, Eiland was traded to the Texas Rangers for Gerald Alexander and Allan Anderson. Texas put Eiland on their AAA team, the Oklahoma City 89ers in the America Association. He made 7 starts there, than at the end of the season was granted free agency.

On March 12th, 1994, Eiland signed a minor league deal with the Yankees and he spent the entirety of the strike-shortened 1994 season and the majority of the 1995 season with AAA Columbus. That team featured some of the players that were essential to helping the Yankees return to the World Series. Players such as top prospects; NYY #7 Jorge Posada, NYY #7,3/MLB #49 Andy Pettitte, NYY #9 Mariano Rivera, and NYY #1,2/MLB #16,4 Derek Jeter. Eiland was putting up decent numbers in AAA and earned a spot start on July 21st, 1995 against the Texas Rangers. Eiland pitched good enough to earn the win and was sent back down after the game. In August, he was called up to be used as a reliever but wasn't very effective and found himself back in Columbus. Again, at the end of 1995, Eiland was granted free agency.

Dave Eiland wouldn't see the majors again until 1998. On December 6th, 1995, Eiland signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and opened the season with their AAA team, the Louisville Cardinals. A team that featured 2 top prospects, Dmitri Young and Matt Morris. He only appeared in the 8 games, starting 6 of them, for Louisville before asking for his release so he could explore other options. The cardinals obliged on June 15th, 1996 and released Eiland. Three days later, Eiland again signed with the Yankees. Once again, Eiland was in Columbus and finished the year with solid numbers there. Dave Eiland became a free agent, but yet again, he resigned with the Yankees. He spent all of 1997 in the Yankees system, struggling with injuries and put up a disappointing season. He became a free agent at that season's conclusion.

On December 19th, 1997, Dave Eiland signed with the expansion team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He failed to make the team out of Spring Training and was assigned to AAA Durham. Eiland was the team's top pitcher in Durham, but didn't get a callup to Tampa until the end of September. Eiland made a spot start against the New York Yankees on September 25th, 1998. Heading into the bottom of the 3rd, the game was tied 1-1. Eiland was set to face the top of the Yankees' order. Jeter singled up the middle and was followed by back to back walks to Paul O'Neill and Bernie Williams. With the bases loaded, Yankees' 1B grounded into a force-out to score 1 and put runners at the corners. Tim Raines hit an infield single to short to score another run. Eilant got Darryl Stawberry to ground into another force-out to put runners again at the corners, this time with 2 outs. That would bring up Posada, who would end Eiland's outing with a double to left that scored Martinez. Rick White would replace Eiland and immediately allow both inherited runners to score on a Scott Brosius single. Dave Eiland's final line in his Devil Rays' debut was 2.2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, and 1 SO. That was only appearance Eiland would make for Tampa in 1998, he was a free agent after the season but resigned with the team in November.

Prior to the 1999 season, Eiland appeared in Kevin Costner's 3rd movie about baseball, For Love of the Game. Eiland could be seen as one of the relievers in the Tigers' Bullpen. He also was Costner's body double when he was pitching. Eiland started the 1999 season in Durham and made 10 starts before being called up for good that year. He was first used out of the bullpen, then switched back into a starting role, than switched again, than once more. At the end of the year, he had appeared in 21 games and started 15 of them. He had 80.1 IP and a 5.60 ERA with a record of 4-8.

In 2000, Eiland made the team out of the Spring as a reliever, but struggled in his first few appearances and was converted back into a starter towards the end of April. On his May 23rd start against Oakland Athletics, Eiland left the game after retiring one batter. The Devil Rays' placed Eiland on the DL. He would rehab in the Devil Rays' minors and return on August 9th, turning in a solid performance against the Minnesota Twins, only allowing 2 runs in 6 innings. Eiland made his final career start on September 3rd against the Royals. Dave Eiland did well in the 1st 2 innings, not allowing the ball to leave the infield. Unfortunately, the 3rd didn't go as well. Royals' 1B, Dave McCarty, singled to open up the inning. Hector Ortiz, the Royals' catcher, followed McCarty with a double down the left field line. This put runners on 2nd and 3rd for Carlos Febles, the Royals' 2B. Febles hit a single back up for the middle to score McCarty and advance Ortiz to 3rd. The Royals' CF, Johnny Damon, grounded in a force-out to score Ortiz to make the game 2-0, Royals. Eiland got the SS, Wilson Delgado, to strike out looking, but the Royals' DH, Mike Sweeney followed that up with a double to again put runners on 2nd and 3rd. After a 7 pitch battle, Eiland walked the RF, Jermaine Dye, to bring up Mark Quinn, the Royals' LF. On the very first pitch, Quinn launched the ball over the wall in left for a grandslam to make the 6-0, Royals. Eiland retired Royals' 3B, Joe Randa, to end inning, and he was able to make it through the 4th and 5th innings unscathed. Devil Rays' Manager, Larry Rothschild allowed Eiland to go out for the 6th, but took him out after allowing a leadoff single to Quinn. Eilan was relieved by Cory Lidle, who allowed the inherited run to score, plus 1 of his own. Eiland's final line was 5 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, and 2 SO.

Eiland made 1 final appearance that season, in relief of Devil Rays' starter, Paul Wilson, in Oakland. Athletics 1B, Jason Giambi had just singled in 2 runs and advanced a runner to third, resulting in Eiland replacing Wilson. The Athletics' LF, Ben Grieve met Eiland with a double to left, followed by the DH, Adam Piatt's single to score Giambi, making the game 7-0, Athletics. Eiland was able to strike out the RF, Matt Stairs and retire the SS, Miguel Tejada on a ground-ball to end the inning. Eiland gave up a leadoff HR to the 3B, Eric Chavez to open up the 7th, but was able to retire the side afterwards. Eiland was replaced by Dan Wheeler in the 8th after giving up back to back walks to Giambi and Grieve. Wheeler allowed 1 run to score to make Eiland's line in his last appearance look like this; 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2BB, and 2 SO.

After the appearance, Eiland was dealing with some discomfort in his right shoulder. The team doctors advised him that he needed to throw through the pain to work it out. When the pain didn't go away, it was revealed during testing the Eiland had torn his Ulnar Collateral Ligamnet. That meant that Eiland would require Tommy John Surgery and be sidelined for at least a year. Eiland was released on October 12th, 2000 by the Devil Rays. Eiland knew that at his age (34 years old), he would need to work very hard to rehab his shoulder, which he did and was ready to make a comeback in 2001. He had signed with Oakland on December 6th 2000, but sadly in only his 2nd start of Spring Training, he had torn the ligament again. Eiland received the Tommy John surgery for the 2nd time in 1 year and shortly announced his retirement afterwards.

When Eiland was in the Yankees' organization, he became known for his mentoring of the younger pitchers. In 2003, the Yankees named Eiland the Pitching Coach of their Rookie-ball team. As the years went by, Eiland advanced through the system until he was named the Pitching Coach of the New York Yankees in 2008. After 3 successful seasons, Eiland was abruptly let go at the end of 2010 for off the field reasons. After a year of serving as a special assistant to the Rays' President of Baseball Ops, Andrew Friedman, the Royals hired Eiland as their Pitching Coach in 2012. The Royals have been consistently better since Eiland joined the staff, winning the AL Pennant in 2014 and eventually losing the World Series to the Giants in 7 games.

Career Stat Line: -2.4 WAR, 12-27 (W-L), 5.74 ERA, 4.82 FIP, 92 G, 153 SO, 3.7 SO/9

Other Classic Player Profiles:

Mike Difelice

Jorge Cantu

Danys Baez

Brent Abernathy

This post was written by a member of the DRaysBay community and does not necessarily express the views or opinions of DRaysBay staff.