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White Sox Wed Dec 11 2013

White Sox Add Blue Chip With Eaton

Sox_200.pngAfter teasing everyone last month with rumors of signing Curtis Granderson, the White Sox finally got their center fielder. The Sox participated in a major three-team trade today, flipping pitcher Hector Santiago to the Angels for outfielder Adam Eaton (via the Diamondbacks). The instant Twitter reaction was euphoria. Or, at least as euphoric as you can get for landing a young outfielder with some upside.

Eaton is nothing but untapped potential. He just turned 25 last week and only has 88 games played in the big leagues. He's put up strong numbers in the minors, including .995 OPS over 119 Triple-A games in 2012. Before the 2013 season, he was a top 100 prospect. Last year, though, Eaton sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his left (throwing) elbow and missed half the season - he was expected to be Arizona's Opening Day center fielder and lead-off hitter.

The Sox really bought low on him. All it cost them was Santiago, who has had some moments over the last two years but whose cumulative stats have been less than impressive. Santiago has really good strikeout rates but has struggled with letting guys get on base. In both 2012 and 2013, his FIP was significantly higher than his ERA, which suggests that the lefty was lucky to produce the numbers that he did. He's a solid pitcher (a 3.66 ERA during the last three and a half months of the season when he was a full time starter) but to get someone like Eaton for him is a steal.

Very quietly and somewhat slowly the Sox are getting their lineup younger and younger. They made the Avisail Garcia trade last season, they signed Jose Abreu this offseason and they traded for Eaton yesterday. Those additions will go along with for sure starters Josh Phegley and Dayan Viciedo, and both Conor Gillaspie and Leury Garcia may get regular playing time. All of these guys will be 27 or younger next season.

Acquiring Eaton didn't materialize suddenly over copious amounts of drinks at the Winter Meetings; the Sox have wanted Eaton for a little while. And it makes sense: The team solidified its outfield, added a guy that helps both this season and beyond (team control until 2019), and all it cost them was a fifth starter. Great trade.

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