Wow. How did I miss this one? I know I was off work this past week, but still... When the Phillies FINALLY kick Adam Eaton to the curb, I want to know ASAP.
Kick him to the curb they did on Friday, and I'm just now reading about it online. EATON has been in the bigs for nine seasons. The Phillies made him a first-round draft choice, then traded him, then got him back in another trade and signed him to a contract worth some $24 million. The good news for Eaton is that, even though he's been released, he'll still get paid about $9 million by the Phillies this season whether or not another team signs him. The Phillies seem to have tried hard during the winter to trade Eaton but, shockingly, no one wanted him. Maybe that will change now that a team can get him on the cheap and leave the Phillies to suck up the rest of his undeserved, overpaid salary.
In his years in the bigs, Eaton has really never lived up to his status as a first-round pick. His lifetime ERA is close to 5.00. In his two seasons with the Phillies (really a season and a half since they sent him to the minors around last year's all-star break), Eaton's modus operandi was generally to give up a run or two in the first inning, settle down for a few innings, and then blow up completely. So, not only did he put the Phillies in a hole right from the get-go, he then dug one so deep that it was impossible even for an offense with the likes of Utley and Howard to get out of it.
The other thing that bothered me about Eaton is that he never seemed to show any passion, any fire. It was tough to tell if he cared. Whether he pitched well or poorly, he always seemed willing to talk to the media, so I give him that. But, when he pitched poorly, his quotes generally seemed to be along the lines of, "Well, you'll have bad days. What are you gonna do?" Need more? Here's a quote from an AP article on Friday after the Phils released him:
"I thought when we signed the deal, that I would be an integral part in any positives on the field. For the most part, it didn't happen that way," he (Eaton) said. "I did have moments of success, but for whatever reason they were short-lived."
Yeah. Moments of success that were short-lived FOR WHATEVER REASON. Whatever reason????? That doesn't exactly sound like a statement from an athlete with a passion for excellence and winning. How about saying something like, "I apologize to the fans of Philadelphia for not living up to expectations. This team put a lot of faith in me and I let them down."
My idea - and it still holds - is that any team that takes a chance on Eaton should turn him into an outfielder, a la RICK ANKIEL of the St. Louis Cardinals. Eaton's lifetime batting average is .194, which is pretty good for a pitcher. And, he did get his share of hits for the Phillies. So, if he practiced more hitting and less pitching, he could probably get his average up to something fairly respectable in a decent amount of time. On the downside, though, Eaton is already over 30 and Ankiel, who's just turning 30, made the switch a couple years ago. So, time may not be on Eaton's side. And, with a $9 million guaranteed payday, he may not care.