Dodgers: Adam Eaton deal sheds light on LAD’s outfield budget
By Adam Weinrib
The Los Angeles Dodgers could be shopping for an outfielder to replace Joc Pederson, and Adam Eaton’s White Sox deal just opened up the market.
Count the Dodgers among myriad teams currently wandering through a spending desert, but perhaps the logjam in Major League Baseball’s offseason is finally starting to clear? Well, in Chicago, at least.
Several hours after the White Sox acquired Lance Lynn in the first foundation-shaking move of the Virtual Winter Meetings (apologies in advance to Raisel Iglesias), Chi-Town went for it again, inking 32-year-old gutty, gritty outfielder Adam Eaton to a one-year, $7 million deal complete with a $1 million buyout, in the event the team declines his 2022 option.
And if 2022 options turn out to be anything like 2021 options, then…yeah, your thing’s getting declined.
So, what does this tell us about the Dodgers offseason to come? They likely weren’t in on Eaton, but will be losing a veteran outfield presence in Joc Pederson. Will Los Angeles now target a similar platoon bat? Or will the cost be prohibitive, and they’ll opt to skew more inexperienced in 2021?
With Pederson providing more power at a younger age than Eaton with a slightly lower grit factor, it seems likely he’ll eventually be had for a slightly higher AAV ($9 million?) on either a two- or three-year deal. It’s unlikely Pederson gets relegated to the one-year bin, even in this offseason.
It’s also highly unlikely the Dodgers bring him back. Same with Kiké Hernández.
With that expectation in mind, Los Angeles will probably have to shell out some amount of money in the Eaton range for any competent veteran outfielder to fill those platoon at-bats, if they decide that’s a genre of free agent spending they’d like to participate in.
As for Eaton’s fit in Chicago? Yeah, just a few hours in, things are not going…fantastic.
At this point, it seems likely the Dodgers use youngsters like lefty bat Zach McKinstry (the new Chris Taylor) in a roving role as opposed to shelling out $8 million to a platoon member.
But at least the guidelines have been set.