Are the Chicago White Sox having a fire sale? Are they telling other teams in baseball that almost all of their players can be had in a trade?
If the reports are accurate that any players with less than four years of team control are available, then they have a player that technically has less than four years remaining that is very attractive. A player that a team looking for a leadoff hitter, right fielder and good on-base guy might covet. Know any team that needs a player like that?
The player is 27-year-old lefty-hitting outfielder Adam Eaton. While he might be vastly underrated, he just finished 19th for the American League MVP Award. This season he tied for eighth in FanGraphs.com’s WAR stat (Wins Above Replacement) at 6.0. These seven players finished ahead of him: Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Josh Donaldson, Jose Altuve, Manny Machado, Francisco Lindor and Adrian Beltre. But no one else in the AL accumulated more WAR in 2016.
Eaton hit .284/.362/.428 and his career numbers are almost identical at .284/.357/.414. He hit lefties and righties about equally well in 2016. He had 29 doubles, nine triples, 14 homers, 59 RBIs, 14 stolen bases and scored 91 runs. He’d look good in a power-laded Orioles lineup as a table-setter on offense and a top defender in right on defense.
Making Eaton even more attractive is that the Sox have him signed for the next three years for a total of $18.4 million with team options for 2020 and 2021. He is due to earn $4 million next year, $6 million in 2018 and $8.4 million in 2019. Chicago has a team option for $9.5 million in 2020 and $10.5 million in 2021. That is five years at a cost of $38.4 million. That is one team-friendly contract if he stays healthy and produces as he has the last three seasons. He would be a huge bargain at those dollars.
But that is perhaps the main issue with trying to acquire him. Why would the White Sox part with a player they hold under team control for five years? You have to assume it would take quite a package to get him, perhaps a package of young controllable talent and/or top prospects.
Orioles fans can look at Eaton and think, “This is the exact kind of player we need.” White Sox team officials can look at him and think, “Even if we completely rebuild, this guy is worth hanging onto.”
Jones on the WBC: The fourth edition of the 16-team World Baseball Classic begins March 6. Japan won the WBC in 2006 and 2009, and the Dominican Republic won the event in 2013. The United States has never finished in the top three.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones played in 2013 and plans to play again in 2017, although the Team USA roster has not yet been announced. Jones doesn’t just want to play, he wants to win. He recently told MLB Network Radio he even has a suggestion to help Team USA’s chances next March.
“First off, we need to have spring training together,” Jones said. “We know the team is probably going to be announced even before the New Year or right after. We don’t need to show up to our own individual camps. Are they going to miss us? Yes. But this is a quite worthy cause.
“Have us take that time to, first off, get to know each other as players. Although we are professionals, it does take time to know players around you. I think that would help that team and the camaraderie of that team immensely. Because the Dominican team and Venezuela and Korea and Japan - they’re doing that right now. They work out together, you know what I mean? That is one strong suggestion I have for Team USA.”
Aberdeen’s schedule: The short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds have announced their 2017 season schedule. The 38-game home slate is highlighted by 10 postgame firework shows as well as numerous traveling entertainment acts, including the ZOOperstars!, Fur Circus, World Famous Frisbee Dogs and many more. A new five-game sellout package will be available beginning Dec. 6.
Aberdeen opens the new season on Tuesday, June 19 at 7:05 p.m. when the Hudson Valley Renegades come to town for a two-game series. The home schedule will wrap up in September, with Aberdeen hosting a three-game Labor Day weekend set against the Staten Island Yankees from Sept. 3-5 before finishing the season on the road.
Single-game tickets will be on sale in April 2017, and fans should visit www.IronBirdsBaseball.com for a complete look at the schedule and call 410-297-9292 for more information.