Hard-nosed Eaton excited to join White Sox
Outfielder brings high on-base potential to top of Chicago lineup
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It took Adam Eaton less than 24 hours to endear himself to much of the White Sox faithful.
Now, Eaton's play on the field simply has to be as inspired as his comments during a Wednesday afternoon conference call.
The 5-foot-8, 185-pound left-handed hitter seems to be a perfect fit at the top of the White Sox order. Not only does Eaton have the leadoff hitter on-base potential -- with an astounding .450 career OBP over 345 Minor League games -- but he has the mentality to match.
"To get on base at all costs," said Eaton when asked about his leadoff mindset. "I don't care if I get hit in the head, hit in the ankle. See 10 or 12 pitches, as many as I need to get on base.
"I could be [down] 0-2 and chop a ball over the third baseman. I know the guys we have behind us, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Gordon Beckham, I'm one pitch away from scoring.
"I'm in scoring position on first," Eaton said. "Just see as many pitches as possible and get on base by any means necessary."
Eaton was acquired from the D-backs as part of a three-team deal Tuesday that included sending Hector Santiago and what looks to be Minor League outfielder Brandon Jacobs or cash considerations to the Angels. Eaton admitted that hearing about the news was a shock at first for both himself and his wife, Katie -- with tears being her first reaction because of the friends she had made in Arizona -- followed by happiness in being closer to their Ohio home.
There wasn't quite as emotional of a response from Eaton, although he did admit to being a bit stunned after thinking this past Spring Training that he would be part of the D-backs' organization for the next decade. Now, the shock has changed into excitement and determination in helping the White Sox.
Describing himself as a Lenny Dykstra/Kenny Lofton type with a little finesse, Eaton knows the benefit of being that sort of high-energy guy at the top of the order. Call him a dirtbag -- as White Sox general manager Rick Hahn did during Tuesday's news conference -- or translate that sentiment into "grinder" via South Side vernacular.
Either way, it's the sort of edge needed by the White Sox to go with Eaton's upbeat attitude on what the team hopes is a consistent and complete on-field performance.
"You give me a glove and anything you want me to do, I'll do," Eaton said. "I'm comfortable at the top of the lineup, but if that's not where I'm needed, that's not where I'm needed.
"It would be great if I could hang my hat around a .300 average, 100 runs scored and an OBP around .400 [for '14]. I think it's definitely doable."
All three teams felt as if Tuesday's trade benefited their immediate goals. The White Sox are more than thrilled in acquiring one of their top offseason targets while dealing from an area of strength in starting pitching.
Despite losing a quality individual like Santiago and a versatile performer able to move between the rotation and bullpen, the White Sox believe they are a better team Wednesday afternoon than they were Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Eaton told MLB.com that there's something special in not only being part of the early stages of a reshaping process, but then seeing it through three years down the line. One sentence later, Eaton added that some White Sox veterans might not be playing in three years, so he wants to add his high energy to helping them win now.
"With my 5-foot-8 stature, a lot relate to it," Eaton said. "Being the young guy, I need that energy and spark.
"Last year I was too focused on struggling and trying to get back in a groove," added Eaton, who hit .252 with a .314 OBP at the big league level in '13, after coming back from a sprained ligament in his left elbow that included a setback during his rehab process. "I'm excited to bring energy to the team, whatever they need me to do."