Dec. 09, 2016
Meet the New Washington Nationals Center Fielder Adam Eaton
Possibly the most aggressive team in the National League this winter, the Washington Nationals have been in on several potential big trades. One they executed was acquiring Adam Eaton from the Chicago White Sox for what was turned into a really big package of minor league talent.
Meet your new center fielder, Nats fans!
In addition to filling the center field void, you're also getting someone with good speed and a nice number one or two hitter depending on where Trea Turner slots in. Come 2018, they have a new left fielder as Eaton is probably more useful to them in the corner spot which will open up once Jayson Werth’s contract is up.
Only yesterday Eaton turned 28. He is coming off his third consecutive productive season, this latest resulting in a .284/.362/.428 slash line. Potentially a guy who can one day lead the league in hits, Eaton’s greatest weapon is an ability to constantly get on base. Since joining the White Sox in 2014, he has finished with OBPs of .362, .361, .362. An added bonus in the last two seasons, Eaton has increased his power from 1 home run in 538 plate appearances in 2014 to 14 in each of the last two.
Eaton can do a lot for the Nationals as soon as next year. Maybe the greatest asset of all is his incredibly affordable contract. Eaton is only owed $18.4 million over the next three seasons with very reasonable deals in 2020 and 2021 which also include cheap buyouts should things not work out.
A costly trade for the Nationals to make as they gave up a lot of young talent to get him, I do think they got the best center fielder they could if you factor in risks. Eaton’s low cost will help them add more pieces to the roster. The Nationals are going all-in this season, or so it would appear, and finding bargains to the payroll like Eaton is a great benefit. They can use the savings in free agency. However, if they don’t, then this deal may backfire on them as greater talents than Eaton are still available.