Eaton, White Sox agree to $23.5 million, 5-year contract
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Outfielder Adam Eaton and the Chicago White Sox agreed Friday to a $23.5 million, five-year contract that includes team options for 2020 and `21.
Eaton hit .300 with 26 doubles, 10 triples, one homer, 35 RBIs, 76 runs and 15 steals last season, his first with the White Sox following a trade from Arizona.
''It's going to be a little easier on my part to go out and play,'' said Eaton, a 19th-round pick by the Diamondbacks in 2010. ''It almost brings a tear to my eye. I've been looked over my whole life. I could say I dreamed about it, but really I didn't. Just dreaming about putting a professional uniform on in Missoula, Montana. To sign a contract for five years in the big leagues is crazy. ... I never thought I'd be here.''
The deal replaces a $560,000, one-year deal agreed to March 11. The 26-year-old gets $850,000 this year, $2.75 million in 2016, $4 million in 2017, $6 million in 2018 and $8.4 million in 2019.
Chicago has options for $9.5 million in 2020 and $10.5 million in 2021. If either option is declined, Eaton would receive a $1.5 million buyout.
''Adam serves as a catalyst, brings a spark of energy to the ballpark each and every day and helps ignite our offense,'' White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said.
Eaton's all-out style of play brings an element of exposure to the deal, Hahn acknowledged.
''There's always risk,'' Hahn said of long-term contracts. ''Adam's no exception. ''Certainly, his style of play and size do potentially lend themselves to injury. That said, I think he's become a smarter player in the last year.
''There's still going to be some flukey stuff that happens or there will be shut downs for a few days to rest his legs. But the benefit of being able to keep him around here potentially three extra seasons beyond the original control in our opinion is well worth the risk that we are potentially undertaking.''
Eaton would have been eligible for free agency after the 2018 season.
''We've got a good group of core guys who are going to be here for four or five years,'' Eaton said. ''It's exciting. The South Side should be proud and excited for that.''