Today in Philly Sports History: The Adam Eaton Contract, 2006


It probably made sense at the time. Well, maybe. With starters Randy Wolf and Cory Lidle gone from the previous season, and Ryan Madson moving back to the bullpen, the team had some innings to fill, and Adam Eaton's reputation as an innings-eater probably had something to do with the three-year, $24 million contract the Phillies gave him on November 27th, 2006. And he did give the Phillies innings in the 2007 season--161 2/3 to be precise, the third-most on the team.

Unfortunately, that was about all Adam Eaton gave the Phils. Eaton had a staggeringly bad 6.28 ERA for the season, albeit with a 10-10 record to go with it due to some run-luckiness during his starts. He struck out less than 100 batters and racked up a team-high 11 Hit by Pitches. To be fair, we can't say he didn't warn us--Ads had a 5.12 ERA with a similarly dismal strikeout rate with the Rangers in 2006--but when you give a guy $24 million, you at least expect him to be good enough to make the roster for the post-season. (Eaton, needless to say, was excluded in '07).

Things got little better for Eaton afterwards. He made it 19 starts and a 5.80 ERA into the 2008 season before the Phils decided enough was enough and optioned him to the minors. Eaton was once again left off the 2008 post-season roster, and was released by the Phillies before the 2009 season. He signed with the Orioles, but that didn't take, got picked up by the Rockies, and that didn't take either. Currently a free agent, Eaton has not exactly inspired fond memories in the fanbases he has since departed, and he was the lone ex-Phil to be booed lustily upon his return to CBP for the ring ceremonies in '09.

Two semi-interesting notes about the Eaton deal: First, it actually marked something of a homecoming for Eaton, as he had been drafted by the Phillies with the 11th pick of the 1996 draft, before being included as part of the deal to the Padres for Andy Ashby in 1999. Second, Eaton's contract wasn't even the worst pitcher acquisition of that off-season, since the Phillies spent more money and gave up better prospects (Gavin Floyd, currently a decent starter for the White Sox) to get Freddy Garcia from the White Sox, and they got even less back in return for it (just one win in 11 starts during the 2007 season).

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