Yankees are going to get suckered into Adam Eaton, aren’t they?


When the Chicago White Sox overpaid for scrappy lefty outfield bat Adam Eaton in the early part of the offseason (when the calendar turned to December!), many smart baseball folks were confused by the move.

Add in the second-year option, and that befuddlement reached a fever pitch. Weren’t the White Sox supposed to be a contender? What did they need a good-field, overrated-bat outfielder for?

Wait … underperforming expectations … a contender prone to valuing supposed grit over actual offensive metrics … oh my god, don’t let the Yankees read this article.

Because Eaton, DFA’d on Wednesday morning, will now come free of charge to whoever wants him, and that could very well be the Team That Forgot About Lefties over in the Bronx.

The only thing Hal Steinbrenner loves more than scrap-heap lefty bats is scrap-heap players who cost absolutely zero dollars, and after Chicago cut ties with Eaton, they’ll likely have to absorb the pro-rated portion of his $7 million salary.

Tony La Russa spoke at length about the “difficult organizational decision” that went into cutting Eaton loose, but we can guarantee he’ll find more playing time in the Bronx. He’d be an outfield solution, but hardly enough to justify passing on a much larger upgrade at the trade deadline.

And is … is he actually an upgrade at all for the Yankees? Signs point to no.

No, the Yankees should not sign Adam Eaton. But they will.

Yes, Eaton was an “above average” hitter prior to the shortened 2020 season, but all his peripherals had been trending significantly downward, and the 2019 Nationals season you likely remember him for was inflated by luck and good optics.

Safe to say he didn’t rebound well from 2020, either, posting a career-worst 78 OPS+ in 58 games this year in Chicago, unable to grab a starting job and run with it despite an outfield power-packed with impactful injuries.

The only thing Eaton has going for him at this juncture is cost, which unfortunately also seems to be the sole motivator for many of Hal Steinbrenner’s midseason transactions. Tim Locastro isn’t some world-beater, but he certainly doesn’t deserve to stop playing the spark plug role a week after he got it because one of MLB’s worst regulars is suddenly on the market — and yes, that 2022 option looms large, too. He could be a bothersome anchor for next season, too, much like Odor.

Good clubhouse guy, though, right? Rode an invisible car with Howie Kendrick in 2019, yes? Well … maybe not so much in Chicago. Check out what fellow White Sox outfielder Brian Goodwin tweeted when the news dropped.

An underwhelming offensive package, a regressing fielding portfolio (from 17 outs above average in 2016 to a -1 total this year), and a clubhouse nuisance? Even at Free.95, Hal Steinbrenner should stay away and focus on either meaningful upgrades or hybrid sales at this year’s deadline.

Unfortunately, you all know that’s not going to happen, right? Eaton’s going to block Hoy Jun Park, which no one asked for, and people will continue to blame it on the “analytics team” and their flubs. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.