It struck me that Adam Eaton is a nice guy. He was gracious with the media and the fans, even after he stunk the joint out repeatedly during his two-year stay in Philadelphia. It's funny, because now-retired GM Pat Gillick was praised for building a World Series winner, but his biggest free-agent signing was of Eaton, a 3-year, $24 million deal that was one of the worst in recent Major League history. Eaton was terrible.
So what happened? The Phillies asked him not to show up for the post-season last year and tried to peddle him this past off-season. Find no takers, the front office uncharacteristically decided to eat his salary and release him (he's owed $9 million for the season). The Orioles took a chance on him (for the measly sum of $400,000 -- the Phillies will pay the rest of Eaton's salary), and now the 31 year-old Eaton is the Orioles' third starter.
That's right, the third starter.
On the plus side, Eaton was a first-round draft choice years ago, pitched well for the Padres but then lost his mojo. He clearly needs a change of scenery, and he's only 31. Plus, it's not like he couldn't make the Royals -- he failed for the team that won the World Series. So perhaps, by comparison, he has some baseball life left in him.
On the minus side, Eaton pitched very poorly last year. He's breaking stuff had no bite, his fast pitches not much velocity. He looked spent, got send down to the minors, pitched horribly there. So, six months later he's ready to be the #3 starter for a team in the very competitive AL East? How does that figure?
It doesn't. The Orioles have had 11 straight losing seasons for a reason. Baltimore once was one of the best baseball cities in America, and it has a rich tradition that the Angelos family has done nothing to enhance and much to erode. If you're an Orioles' fan, you can't go into the season with much confidence that your team will turn it around if you have Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson in your rotation. It's not personal, fellows, but it shows how bad the Orioles' farm system was and how in need they are that they've elected to salvage both of these well-traveled pitchers' careers.
But here's the think, O's fans -- Philadelphia is only about 2 hours to the north, they don't sell out every game, and you can see some good baseball for a decent price.