While the White Sox have been picking up steam in free agency of late, Rick Hahn pulled the trigger on the team's first significant trade of the offseason, sending Hector Santiago to the Angels and receiving 25 year-old outfielder Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks in a big three-team swap.
Eaton sliding in for a run. Credit: Baseball News Source
After the team signed Felipe Paulino, it seemed even more likely than before that the Sox would move a starting pitcher. And with GM Rick Hahn and company at the winter meetings this week, it sure did not take long for that to happen.
Hector Santiago is a (soon-to-be) 26 year-old with a good deal of MLB experience and success, though it's yet to be determined whether he will be able to successfully occupy a starting rotation slot over an entire MLB season. For what it's worth, I'm a huge Hector fan and think he'll be a very solid middle-of-the-rotation guy for years to come.
The Angels also received another very young and promising pitcher in Tyler Skaggs from the Diamondbacks, while sending power hitter Mark Trumbo out to Arizona. But let's focus on who's headed to the south side: Adam Eaton.
At first glance you see that Eaton is a 5'8 outfielder who has hit around .250 in the major leagues. And at that point, you're probably pretty underwhelmed. But once you do a bit of digging you'll soon be rather impressed.
You can check out all of his minor league statistics by clicking here, but here's what you need to know …
- In 345 minor league games, he's posted a .348/.450/.501 slash-line
- And not to mention, an even better .365/.441/.522 line in 129 AAA games
- He has surprising gap power: 48 doubles in those AAA games
- Plus he plays solid defense, has a strong arm, and is a 30-40ish SB guy
So you can see why he was ranked as baseball's 73rd best prospect going into the 2013 season by Baseball America (one spot ahead of Avi Garcia).
And when looking at his mediocre major league numbers (.254 BA, 380 PA's), you also have to note that he missed time and struggled with an elbow injury in 2013. Although he only posted a .259 BA in 22 games while healthy in 2012, he had a .794 OPS. Simply put: the potential is there.
And outside of the numbers, he's an full-energy, spark plug type of player, which is one thing the Sox lacked in 2012.
He has all the makings to be a Brett Gardner-type player, with a bit more pop and a bit less speed. It's the type of guy the Sox need in the outfield and leading off the order. Like we mentioned he just turned 25 and he could also be under team control into 2019. Considering the team could afford to deal some starting pitching depth, it appears as if Eaton may wind up being a very satisfying return for Santiago.
What are your thoughts on the deal? Comment below and tweet us to let us know.
Make sure to stay tuned to GrabSomeBench.com and @Grab_Some_Bench for what else this deal means for the White Sox moving forward.