I Take It All Back!

Lacking about as much foresight as I did when I predicted a Rockies-Indians World Series in 2008, I showed some empathy for Adam Eaton in an article I wrote at Baseball Daily Digest on January 24.

I’m not going to go out and purchase a Phillies jersey with “Eaton” and his number 23 (I’m sure he meant no offense to His Airness) on the back. But I’m the charter member of his fan club if for no other reason than that I refuse to piggyback on a guy who, most likely, could stand to carry a lighter burden.

Lauber goes on to write that if the Phillies can’t find someone to pay $1 million for Eaton, they’ll release him, meaning that Eaton made his last appearance as a Phillie last July 27. I wish him luck whereever he ends up, and you should too.

I am resigning from my chair as the head of the Adam Eaton fan club because he pulled what is known as a “dick move.” He was released by the Phillies yesterday after months of unsuccessful attempts by the team to entice other organizations to take on a small portion of his salary.

Scott Lauber of Delaware Online caught up with Eaton to get his thoughts on his newfound freedom. I’m going to respond to the quotes FJM-style and you’ll see why I’ve absconded from the fan club.

I got off to a relatively good start and had nothing to show for it.

If “a relatively good start” is nearly 8 innings of three-run pitching for one game, then yeah… not bad. Good, in fact. But his ERA after the first game, 3.52, ballooned to 5.08 after his last start in April. The lowest his ERA got in May was 4.72 and got as low as 4.57 in mid-June.

That’s not, in any way, good. It’s below-average. In terms of grades, it’s a D-minus.

This day in age, it’s what have you done for me lately.

What Adam Eaton had done for the Phillies lately:

  • Throw nearly 162 innings of 6.29 ERA and 1.627 WHIP baseball in 2007.
  • Fail to go five innings in 4 of his 19 starts (21%) in 2008.

Regardless of leading the team in quality starts until the All-Star break, two starts later, three starts later, I’m cast off in the bullpen.

The All-Star Game was held on July 15 last season.

Quality starts (at least 6 IP, no more than 3 ER) for Phillies starting pitchers up to July 15, 2008…

  • Cole Hamels: 13 QS in 20 starts, 3.15 ERA in those 20 starts
  • Jamie Moyer: 10 QS in 19 starts, 3.95 ERA in those 19 starts
  • Adam Eaton: 10 QS in 19 starts, 5.71 ERA in those 19 starts

Eaton got his facts wrong. More importantly, it shows how weak the quality start is as a metric of performance. Despite having the exact same proportion of quality starts as Moyer, Eaton was almost two full runs per nine innings worse.

Also, Eaton’s recollection is wrong. Eaton made his last start prior to the All-Star break on July 12. He made two appearances out of the bullpen on the 26th and 27th before being demoted.

Granted, there were a lot of horrible games in there, but there were some good ones, too.

Eaton definitely had some good games in there, but he had far too many starts where the Phillies were just completely out of it as a result of his awful pitching.

More to the point, take a look at Eaton’s good starts (we’ll use quality starts) and the offenses he was facing (apologies for the poor image quality) …

Adam Eaton Quality Starts, 2008

Obviously, the last start was against an AL team, so that rank 14 is out of 14 teams. The average offensive rank of the teams he notched quality starts against was 9.6, or 10 if you round up. He faced a lot of bad offensive teams.

I haven’t pitched in the big leagues since whenever, July. And they say, ‘Well, go down and get in shape.’ Give me a [bleeping] break. What do you want me to say? You want me to swallow another pill? For what? Waste two weeks down here where I can go spend two weeks with my family? Yeah, sure, I’ll go up there for the World Series. Hey, I’m up on the float. ‘Boo, [bleep] you.’ Great. Would that be any fun for anybody? No. In that regard, not sharing it with my teammates. But it was nice to see them on TV. They’re world [bleeping] champs.

Points for the WFC mention.

Nothing he says here is really wrong, but his tact is just terrible. Any sympathy that he’s trying to earn is diminished with the way he’s illustrating his situation.

From his own description, it sounds like he was unwilling to put in the work to make himself better. Would you expect any team to let a player hang around who was actively being lethargic, especially one who had been piss-poor the previous two seasons while taking in a hefty salary? I, for one, would not. And it seems like the Phillies didn’t want him around either.

I can certainly understand Eaton feeling that “getting in shape” would have been futile but you can’t decline to do so and then expect any kind of a helping hand down the road.

. . .

Adam, good luck whereever you end up. I wish you the best.

But don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

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