Adam Eaton has officially come full circle. Eaton has signed a one year contract with the Chicago White Sox for $7 million. Oddly enough, Eaton is one of the most important players on the team and hasn’t taken an at-bat for Chicago in four plus years.
Eaton is a forgotten White Sox cult hero that has a chance to win a championship with the club that has benefited from him in more ways than one. It just seems like every time it just seems to benefit the south siders in Chicago.
Eaton was originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 19th round of the 2010 MLB Draft. Eaton made his MLB debut in 2012 and was traded to Chicago two years later. The White Sox sent Hector Santiago to the Angels which later grew into a multi-team trade.
Santiago fell off the face of the earth rather quickly and Eaton became a regular in the White Sox outfield. Better yet, Eaton signed a team friendly contract with the team that really boosted his value as the White Sox were in a position to rebuild.
Once again, Eaton was traded and Chicago got the better end of the stick. The South Siders went into a full rebuild after the 2016 season. Eaton was sent to Washington in exchange for Dane Dunning, Reynaldo Lopez, and Lucas Giolito.
Sure, maybe you can say the Nationals did okay. They won the World Series in 2018 and Eaton came up with clutch at-bats along the way. However, It’s evident that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo overpaid. Lucas Giolito is a bonafide ace.
Scoring someone like Giolito for Eaton is a home run. Lopez has been inconsistent but he’s still someone that can be a 5th starter. Even Dunning has become useful. Of course, he was just used in a trade to acquire Lance Lynn from Texas.
After that 2016 season, Chicago has done a great job building a young core that can become a sustainable winner. Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, Eloy Jimenez, etc makes Chicago maybe the most exciting young team in the sport.
Now that the White Sox are ready to compete again, Eaton is back. Eaton, 32, had a rough 2020 season but provides a stable veteran to a young roster. Eaton was a -0.9 WAR player last year but 2020 was also a short season. If he can return to his 2018 or 2019 form, the White Sox will be happy with the value on a one year contract.
The White Sox smacked homers all year. They just don’t make a ton of contact. The White Sox led the American League in home runs but need to start making more consistent contact. Even in a down year, Eaton ranked in the 91st percentile in whiff percentage and always gives a tough at-bat.
Adam Eaton is the anti-James Shields. You know, the guy who was traded for… wait for it… Fernando Tatis. DOH! Eaton has helped the White Sox in more ways than one. Now it’s time for him to help this young core become a winner on the field.