Center fielder Adam Eaton and the Chicago White Sox have agreed to a 5-year, $23.5 million contract extension. The contract also has two club options, so it could keep him on the south side of Chicago through 2021.
Eaton, 26, will earn $850,000 in 2015, $2.75 million in 2016, $4 million in 2017, $6 million in 2018 and $8.4 million in 2019. The two option years call for $9.5 million in 2020 and $10.5 million in 2021, with a $1.5 million buyout if either option is declined. The deal buys out his remaining arbitration-eligible years and at least two years of free agency.
Eaton is entering his second season with the White Sox after being traded from the Diamondbacks last offseason in the three-team trade that sent Mark Trumbo to Arizona and Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs to Anaheim. In 123 games in 2014, he hit .300 and had 15 stolen bases to go with 76 runs scored, and is a career .289/.350/.390 hitter. His speed is his best asset and makes him one of the faster outfielders in the game, although he does have a tendency to run into walls.
“Certainly his style of play and his size (5-feet-8, 185 pounds) lend themselves to injury,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “(But) he has become a smarter player in the last year. There always is going to be some fluky stuff that happens and the occasional shutdown for a few days to rest his legs, but the benefit to keep him three extra seasons beyond the original control is worth the risk.”
Eaton is happy to have proven himself in his first season in Chicago. “For me to prove (Hahn) right was big for me — to hit .300 and play good defense day in and day out,” Eaton said. “It’s just confidence in the club and confidence in me, and I think it’s going to be a lot easier for me to … compete at a high level with their confidence within me. It’s a great day.”