Adam Eaton coming back to the Chicago White Sox was a horrendous decision.
Adam Eaton was a great player during his first stint in Chicago. He quickly endured himself to fans for his scrappy style of play. Eaton was a .281 hitter on the Southside and led the league in triples in 2014 and 2015. He accumulated an 8.8 WAR during his first four seasons in Chicago before being traded to Washington for Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning.
The deal worked out well for both sides as Giolito turned into an All-Star and Dunning netted the White Sox Lance Lynn. Meanwhile, Eaton won a World Series with the Nationals.
The White Sox began to turn the corner in 2020, making the playoff for the first time since 2008. However right field was a glaring issue. Rick Hahn tried to patch the hole by trading for Nomar Mazara. Mazara had just one home run all season and was quickly jettisoned from the roster.
When Eaton hit free agency in 2021, Rick Hahn wanted to try to rekindle some old magic. Eaton was signed to a deal worth $7 million. The signing was not good for multiple reasons. For starters, Eaton had become injury-prone.
In 2017 he only played 23 games before suffering a torn ACL. The following season, a left ankle bone bruise landed him on the injured list for 67 games. After a productive 2019 season, he only appeared in 41 games out of 60 in 2020.
His production also was not there. He hit just .226 during his final season in Washington. To add insult to injury, George Springer, Eddie Rosario, Kyle Schwarber, and Micheal Brantley were all available. The White Sox instead decided to play it cheap and they got what they paid for.
What transpired was not shocking to anyone. The 32-year-old coming off a terrible season could not hit. He didn’t even last the full season on the roster. Eaton had a career-high 25.1 strikeout rate. As a left-handed hitter, he was supposed to be able to hit right-handed pitching but he struggled to the tune of a .210 average with a subpar 94 wRC+.
Nagging leg issues bothered him and his production deteriorated. He had a stretch from April 16th to July 6th when he hit just .182 with two home runs and 18 RBIs.
His final game came on July 6th in Minnesota. Fittingly, he struck out twice and was DFA’d the next day after playing just 58 games. His final slash line was .201/.298/.344. This signing was terrible because everyone knew that Eaton was a shot fighter.
Injuries had taken their toll on his body and better options were available. For a team looking to contend, not having a right fielder cost them dearly. On the current roster, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, and Luis Robert have all been locked up for an extended period of time.