On Tuesday night Adam Eaton was batting leadoff and standing in right field for nine innings getting soaked in the rain for the White Sox. On Wednesday afternoon he was packing his bags. The White Sox announced just before the start of Wednesday’s game that Adam Eaton was removed from the active roster after Adam Engel was activated off of the injury list.
Brian Goodwin summed up White Sox fan’s feelings perfectly in a suspiciously timed tweet that read “Party party party, lets all get wasted.”
Eaton being DFA’d is a cutthroat move from Rick Hahn that showed he means business. It’s also an admission of his failure to find a right fielder for the second straight season. Adam Eaton was inked to a 7 million dollar free agent deal during the offseason. The move was universally hated by White Sox fans. Even though Eaton was a World Series Champion, and a veteran presence in the locker room he struggled to stay healthy.
Injuries became the story of Eaton’s career after a productive first stint with the White Sox. He suffered a torn ACL in 2017 that limited him to 23 games. Then he spent 67 games on the injured list in 2018 with a left ankle bone bruise. After hitting a career-high 15 home runs and helping the Nationals win the World Series in 2019, he only appeared in 41 games in his fourth and final season with the Nationals. The bottom line is he can’t stay healthy plus he only hit .226 in his last season in Washington.
Prior to today’s series finale at Minnesota, the Chicago White Sox reinstated outfielder Adam Engel from the 10-day injured list and designated outfielder Adam Eaton for assignment.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 7, 2021
Despite the warning signs and drop in production, Rick Hahn signed him anyway. He was pegged to be the starting right fielder alongside Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez. Eaton was productive first two weeks with the White Sox. He hit a home run on Opening Day. His slash line from April 1st to April 15th was .261/.370/.457 with 3 home runs and 10 RBIs. But Eaton was bothered by nagging leg issues and his production began to deteriorate. From April 16th to July 6th he hit just .182/.273/.308 with 2 home runs and 18 RBIs.
July 6th was likely his last game in a White Sox uniform. He had one hit, one RBI, and two strikeouts. His 2021 season with the White Sox included 58 games with a slash line of .201/.298/.344. His 25.1 strikeout percentage was a career-high. Hitting right-handers was suppose to be his specialty but he floundered hitting .210 with a 94 wRC+. Eaton was not only been bad he was a liability. Over his last 99 games, which includes the 2020 season, he has been worth -0.2 in fWAR.
Despite injuries to Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, and a Nick Madrigal injury that forced Leury Garcia to spend time at second base, Eaton still could not keep a job.
If acquiring a cheap right fielder that didn’t work out sounds like revisionist history, that’s because it is. Rick Hahn traded for Nomar Mazara last season when there were plenty of good free agents available. The White Sox thought they could unlock some untapped potential. Instead, they watched as Mazara hit .228 with only 34 hits, one home run, and 19 RBIs.
It begs the question of why the White Sox would go down the same path twice? Sure, Eaton was a left-handed bat. But he was 32 years old coming off a terrible season. It would be one thing if they waited until the end of the offseason and got him for cheap. But instead, they signed him a day after trading for Lance Lynn, signaling a sense of urgency. Because of this, they overpaid.
Other options were available such as Geroge Springer, Eddie Rosario, Kyle Schwarber, or Michael Brantly. Adam Eaton is a good baseball player. But injuries have taken their toll on his body. If fans could see this why couldn’t the front office? It was the right move to DFA him but one that should not have been necessary.