Spare Parts: Adam Eaton’s still got it

The underachieving Washington Nationals flirted with the idea of selling at the trade deadline. In the end, they only departed with reliever Brandon Kintzler, whom they traded to the Cubs for A-ball pitcher Jhon Romero.

Considering the Nationals had other members of their bullpen on the block, and considering they’re still going for the division, the trade of Kintzler stands out. Sure enough, the Washington Post reported that the club believed Kintzler had loose lips.

The Nationals gave their reasons for trading Kintzler publicly, but a significant reason went unspoken. Club officials believed Kintzler was an anonymous source for reports that cited clubhouse strife, according to people with knowledge of the situation. In a radio interview on 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday, Kintzler denied he was a source for Yahoo’s recent story, which called the Nationals’ clubhouse “a mess.”

“I’ve never talked to that [author] Jeff Passan guy in my life, so that’s an interesting accusation,” Kintzler said on “Grant & Danny.” “I know for a fact that someone got him to admit his source was not a player, so it wasn’t me. I’ve never talked to that guy in my life.”

Passan’s story on the Nationals painted a vivid picture of the third-place Nats, and when it comes to these stories, I tend to CTRL-F “Eaton” to see if our old friend Adam Eaton shows up.

Eaton rubbed various Sox personnel and radio guys the wrong way for reasons that were never quite specified and were to some degree unfair. However, given his running record of playing for teams that imploded — before Robin Ventura’s White Sox, he was on Kirk Gibson’s Diamondbacks — I thought he might be in the mix.

That doesn’t seem to be the case so far,  although the Post’s description of Eaton as an “impromptu clubhouse spokesman” suggests a suboptimal situation, because he still has the tendency to talk himself past the runway and into a retaining ditch. He did OK here:

The veteran was given the night off but he felt compelled to address the situations surrounding the team. He was most ardent about suggestions of clubhouse strife.

“Anybody reaching for this clubhouse is a mess or Davey’s not doing a good job, whatever it may be, is a load of crap,” Eaton said. “You can go to anybody on this back wall, these veteran guys and the guys that have been here, done that, we’re going to stand behind that and we’re going to all say the same thing because it’s true.”

But not so much here:

Or here:

“There’s really no room for that kind of talk or language in the game of baseball, or really America and in the world,” Adam Eaton said. “. . . That being said, the year and a half I’ve known Trea, he’s been an outstanding person in all walks of life — doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, black, purple, orange. He’s been an outstanding person to all of us.”

Spare Parts

Speaking of people who didn’t cover themselves in glory during L’Affaire LaRoche, Chris Sale hit the DL with something that’d never bothered him before. But circumstantial evidence suggests it might not be that big a deal. First, he maintains it’ll be a short stint:

Sale also was quick to push back against the notion that there was more than inflammation.

“If this was something more serious, I would tell you,” he said. “We’re not hiding anything. This is not something that we’re worried about. This is a concern at most.”

Sale went 4-0 with a 0.36 ERA in July to bolster his lead in the American League Cy Young race, so there’s nothing in his recent performances, either. My guess is that one of Sale’s teams finally has a chance to give him a breather so he can try to avoid his usual September swoon. Boston leads the Yankees by 5½ games.

Reynaldo Lopez keeps citing “focus” as the main culprit in his recent struggles, shooting down the idea of fatigue being a main factor, so James Fegan explores this notion. It could be true on multiple fronts — he just became a father, and we’ve seen other pitchers have to work to channel their energies when things aren’t going well. Then again, it’s harder to focus when fatigued, so I wouldn’t write off the idea that Lopez is hitting a wall.

Paul Konerko will join Hawk Harrelson as a guest analyst on Aug. 19, and it could be an experiment worth listening to. Konerko still has a knack for very detailed, nuanced answers to questions he could more or less shrug away. For instance, when asked about the launch angle revolution:

This is a great example of Konerko’s literally inside-baseball thoughts — lengthy, in-depth, but not rambling. I want to hear all of it. I just wonder if he can shape them to fit between pitches, outs and innings.

That’s assuming Harrelson will let him expound in the first place, which I’m not counting on. But give him Jason Benetti — somebody who can set him up without treating it like an interview — and I think it’d be fun to hear him for a series a season.

Author

  • Jim Margalus

    Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

    View all posts
Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
29 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Patrick Nolan

I’m sorry, Reynaldo, the word we were looking for was “regression”.

ParisSox

Hater

Patrick Nolan

I prefer “Stats-looker-atter”

Smclean09

You took a small sample of data that is more indicative of the batter and claimed he was getting lucky. Then his periphs began to come around and that was that on the matter. Now he’s struggling again and its regression.

The difference was he was throwing his secondary pitches with command and getting some whiffs with them and now he isn’t. Sometimes it happens with young pitchers. Whether or not he figures it out we dont know but this isn’t the same pitcher we saw at two separate stretches this year that looked like a future rotation piece for this team.

karkovice squad

He was also unsustainably on the right side of BABIP. That went away, too. And along with it, his strand rate.

FIP, xFIP, and DRA also haven’t really been impressed with what he’s been doing since he was called up last season. To be understated about it.

Smclean09

I dont know if anyone would argue he has been good on a whole. But that’s kind of my point, he has had stretches. And I think they have fallen more in line with command and secondary pitches effectiveness than some “luck” factor (which every player goes through periods of).

I think that’s something that can be held onto in a development season. It’s just whether or not it can become more consistent.

karkovice squad

His longest stretch was April, when he still barely posted a FIP below 4.5 and had an xFIP over 5. Even at his best this season it’s been about outperforming his peripherals more than just being good.

The reason there’s still hope is that he still has great stuff if he figures out control and command.

GrinnellSteve

he still has the tendency to talk himself past the runway and into a retaining ditch.

Gold. All the more golden because it’s so true.

35Shields

I was just looking at the Sox team stats and was wondering ‘What would be the best way to summarize this season in sentence?’

I’d like to submit:
“3 out of the 4 Sox leaders in pitching WAR are relievers… and the fourth is James Shields.”

knoxfire30

That better than Omar Narvaez being third in OPS?

35Shields

Could’ve gone with “1st in wRC+”

Otter

Works for 2017 too (almost 3 of 5 but all were traded).

35Shields

Yeah, but when you had a starting rotation of Q, Rodon, Shields, Gonzalez and Holland/Covey, the only real disappointment there was that Rodon didn’t make the top 5.

Gus

never forget.

Gus

oops. really though this was great.

NDSox12

Eaton didn’t come out and say it, but I think what he meant was that the Nats clubhouse is about as harmonious as one could expect without a pre-pubescent leader. Of course, they once had that too in Drake LaRoche.

sgp2204

Any chance Konerko is bored with retirement and looking for a job? The Sox should have a hitting coach vacancy in the near future… Wishful thinking. 

Eagle Bones

“Yolmer, I need to talk to you about your attitude. Being all happy isn’t the way to make it in this league. You need to be more dour. As dour as humanly possible. So dour in fact that no one wants to sit next to you in the dugout. Once you’ve mastered that it’s time to just sit back and watch the all-star selections roll in…”

ParisSox

Wasn’t he Beckham’s mentor?

lil jimmy

“doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, black, purple, orange. He’s been an outstanding person to all of us”
Really?
Adam wouldn’t know a gay person to look at him, since no gay people play baseball. It’s like the “Iran” of sports.

Eagle Bones

I hope this is a whoosh of some kind, because this is kind of in poor taste.

soxfanpa

I, and I know I can’t be alone, always kind of got that good ol’ boy vibe from him.

I.e. it’s more likely than not he believes no gay people play baseball.

PauliePaulie

Madrigal promoted to Winston Salem.

PauliePaulie

and Steele Walker to Kann.

ParisSox

And Eloy and Kopech to … ?

asinwreck

heaven.

5742mail

What about other who have great stat and have put in the time.

5742mail

If he has checked all the boxes, why not AA, W/S is a hitters Paradise.

sgp2204

But he didn’t get 100 at-bats in Kannapolis… Seems fishy.