Dump Adam Eaton – Fast! by Jeff Lyons
Harry Kalas was right. Chase Utley, you are the man.
By now, you've heard (and maybe seen on youtube) Utley's faux pas during introductions at last night's home run derby. Utley was booed by a few New York fans and he turned to Florida second baseman Dan Uggla and said "Boo? Expletive you." Utley had voiced to the New York fans what so many of us here in Philadelphia have wanted to do for years. Utley didn't realize he was on a microphone and he apologized after the event.
Utley has nothing to apologize for. Maybe it was a little crude, but hey, we're talking about New York fans here. Everything is fair game.
And now on to Adam Eaton...
Phillies starting pitcher Brett Myers needed a trip to the minor leagues to get himself straightened out, fellow starter Adam Eaton deserves the demotion. He's been nothing short of awful lately and is proving to be one of the worst free-agent signings in baseball history.
In Eaton's last two starts, he's lasted a total of 6.1 innings. In those two starts, he's given up 17 hits and 16 runs while his ERA has swelled to 5.71. He's reverted to the form that made him the worst pitcher in Major League Baseball last season. Eaton pitched adequately for a while this year, considering he's making nearly $8 million for the season. But adequate is a relative term. Let's put it this way – in a few of Eaton's starts, he didn't actually stink and put his team behind early. Eaton is owed another $8 million next year. The thought of the Phillies running this guy out to the mound every fifth day during a pennant race makes me want to keep the antacids close by.
So what should the Phillies do? To me, it's simple. Demote him to the minor leagues and let him know his current performance is unacceptable. But since Eaton is a veteran, he can refuse the assignment. But if he wants to keep getting paid, he'd be wise to take the demotion, get his act together and make it back to Philadelphia.
Eaton's signing was curious to begin with. Here's a guy with a history of injuries and very little success – yet general manager Pat Gillick decided to sign him for three years and a total of $24 million. Yikes. Worst. Signing. Ever. Even worse than Danny Tartabull, who had a total of seven at-bats for the Phils in 1997. He fouled a ball off his foot in April and missed the rest of the season. And received $2.3 million. Ouch.
So who replaces Eaton? To me, it's simple. The Phils need to promote Venezuelan flamethrower Carlos Carrasco from the minors. He certainly isn't going to be any worse than Eaton. I know that history doesn't count for much in these situations, but the Phillies can look to the playoff race success of Kyle Kendrick, Dickie Noles, Marty Bystrom and Bob Walk for inspiration.
I don't want to see Gillick make any trades for pitching. The names I've seen mentioned (A.J. Burnett and Erik Bedard) don't do anything for me. Burnett is an underachiever and Bedard is rumored to be a "me-first" player. And I certainly don't want any of the Phillies top prospects, like Carrasco, Adrian Cardenas, catcher Lou Marson, infielder Jason Donald or outfielder Greg Golson packaged for someone with a bad attitude and a questionable resume.
The second half of the baseball season is about to begin and it's time for the Phillies to look within the organization for help. Demote Adam Eaton. Or put him on the disabled list. They can list the injury as an odor disorder, because all he's done is stink up the place.
Jeff Lyons, senior managing editor of the Philadelphia Bar Reporter and Bar Reporter Online, is a fanatical Philadelphia sports fan. E-mail him your trade ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.