White Sox add Adam Eaton in three-way trade
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter December 10, 2013 1:59PM
Updated: December 10, 2013 10:22PM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The White Sox envision having 25-year-old Adam Eaton, a max-effort ‘‘dirtbag” — as described by his new boss — as their center fielder and leadoff man for years to come.
Acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-way trade that sent left-hander Hector Santiago to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, the 5-8 Eaton, a left-handed hitter and the Pacific Coast League MVP in 2012, has been a minor-league star.
The Angels also get a player to be named (reportedly Class AA outfielder Brandon Jacobs) or cash considerations from the Sox.
The Sox were thrilled to get Eaton.
“Adam provides us with a smart, high-energy baseball player for the top of the lineup,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “He knows the strike zone, is disruptive on the bases and provides solid defense in center field.”
Eaton’s energetic and grinding style — which Hahn compared to Lenny Dykstra — can’t hurt a team that lacked talent, good baseball sense and an identity during its 99-loss season.
“He fights through every at-bat,’’ Hahn said. “He leaves everything on the field. He’s got aggressive personality traits that we like and are going to help add to the clubhouse and improve our mix there.’’
In four minor-league seasons, Eaton is a career .348 hitter with 88 doubles, 26 home runs, 165 RBI, 281 runs, 106 stolen bases and a .450 on-base percentage in 345 games. In parts of two seasons with the D-backs, disrupted by a sprained left ulnar collateral ligament suffered during spring training in 2012, Eaton batted .254 in 335 at-bats.
Eaton’s arm is his best defensive trait.
“There’s been times where his routes, he’s had a problem on a couple of jumps,’’ Hahn said. “At the same time he’s got the speed to make up for it. He’s a young player. He’s missed some time at the big-league level due to the elbow injury, so he’s not a finished product entirely.’’
Hahn called Eaton a “disruptive force at the top of the order” and embraced his “dirtbag” mentality.
“Ultimately it’s about getting the right baseball player and the right fit,’’ Hahn said. “His intangibles help round him out and make him even more appealing.’’
With 22-year-old Avisail Garcia entrenched in right field, the trade moves left-handed leadoff man Alejandro De Aza, who batted .264 with 17 homers and 62 RBI but was supbar in center, into a platoon with right-handed Dayan Viciedo or on the trade block. Or Viciedo could be moved.
“To get the most out of his production right now, picking certain matchups might help him and get him back on track to being the player we think he’s capable of being,’’ Hahn said of Viciedo.
In Santiago, the Sox traded from depth but lose a versatile lefty who went 4-9 with a 3.56 ERA over 149 innings and 23 starts. The Sox signed right-hander Felipe Paulino to a one-year contract with an option year. Paulino and Erik Johnson are good bets to open the season as the two right-handers in the rotation.
The biggest name in the trade was slugger Mark Trumbo, who went from the Angels to Arizona.