White Sox reunite with Adam Eaton on one-year deal

The Chicago White Sox have signed free agent outfielder Adam Eaton to a one-year, $8 million deal, the team announced Thursday. The deal also includes a club option for 2022. The plan is for Eaton to become Chicago’s everyday right fielder, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal adds.

Eaton, 32, has spent the last four seasons with the Washington Nationals and helped the franchise win its first World Series title in 2019. Prior to that, he had a three-year stint with the White Sox.

CBS Sports ranked Eaton as the 25th-best free agent available this winter. Here’s what our R.J. Anderson had to say about the veteran outfielder:

The Nationals declined their $10.5 million option on Eaton, making him a free agent an offseason earlier than anticipated. While he’s coming off a replacement-level season, it’s worth bearing in mind that it was only 41 games. Prior to 2020, he’d hit at least .270 and had reached base at least 36 percent of the time in six consecutive seasons. It’s fair to reason that Eaton’s injury history may have hastened a quicker decline than expected, but he’s going to get an opportunity to redeem himself with someone, likely as a most-days starter. 

Eaton didn’t put up big numbers in the abbreviated 2020 campaign, hitting .226/.285/.384 across 176 plate appearances. He then missed the final two weeks of the season with a fractured left index finger. Eaton’s first half with Washington was derailed with injuries, but he managed to stay relatively healthy over the past two seasons. The White Sox are obviously hoping for a bounce-back season from Eaton as Chicago’s everyday right fielder. For 2021, it appears it’ll be Eaton will be in right, Luis Robert in center and Eloy Jimenez in left for the White Sox.

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Chicago traded Eaton to Washington in 2016 for Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning. The four-player trade was part of the massive rebuild the White Sox started four years ago, and that deal came shortly after the White Sox shipped off Chris Sale to the Red Sox.

Earlier this week, the club acquired right-handed starter Lance Lynn in a trade with the Texas Rangers. Dunning is reportedly heading to the Rangers as part of the deal. Lynn will join Giolito and former Cy Young-winning lefty Dallas Keuchel alongside Dylan Cease and possibly Michael Kopech in Chicago’s rotation.

The White Sox are not too far off from becoming a true contender. The club made the expanded playoffs this past October, snapping a 12-year postseason drought, before falling in the American League Wild Card Series (2-1) to the Oakland Athletics

This offseason, they fired AL Manager of the Year finalist Rick Renteria before announcing the puzzling hiring of Tony La Russa as the new skipper

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