A lack of due diligence with a medical exam explains why the Phillies are paying $10 million to injured starter Freddy Garcia. As for Adam Eaton, it's looking like another bad call, for a different reason.
The only thing saving struggling starter Adam Eaton from the wolves is that his latest effort helped his team reach the dubious 10,000-loss distinction. Eaton was chased in the fifth inning of yesterday's one-sided 10-2 loss to the Cardinals, serving up double-homer-homer-single until Charlie Manuel stepped in and ended it. Eaton’s final line: four innings; 10 hits; six runs; two homers. Fans would expect better from J.D. Durbin.
Only veterans with big-money commitments can last with a 5.98 ERA after 19 games. The uneasy feeling of sub-mediocrity started way back in spring training and the feeling hasn’t subsided. Measured using Baseball Prospectus’ VORP stat, which tallies the number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same chances, Eaton is the worst pitcher in the National League over 100 innings, ranked 47 out of 47 starters. He's been bottom barrel since the season began. One could argue that only Kip Wells and Vicente Padilla have been worse acquisitions from the 2007 free agent class; Wells actually lost his job earlier this season, and probably pitched himself out of the mix against the Phils on Friday.
Command, consistency and untimely mistakes have crippled him, but even at his best, he looks like a bad match for the ballpark. Many readers voiced this concern at the time of the signing. This morning on 610-WIP radio, Mitch Williams observed that his arm drops when the pressure builds, causing him to come under the ball. According to BP, only 39.3 percent of Eaton's batted balls are going for ground balls, and his 1.58 HR/9 rate is very high. That’s only slightly worse than Cole Hamels, but Hamels misses almost twice as many bats and walks half as many.
Those who endorsed the deal – yours included – thought Eaton was young enough and had the stuff to overcome the challenge of pitching in a bandbox. More than half a season later, time is running out to prove those supporters right.
Gordon activated; Sanches demoted: According to the team Web site, Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro Jr. gave Gordon the green light after watching him pitch yesterday. The plan is to slide Gordon into low-pressure situations at first before using him as a setup man or closer. I'm skeptical Flash has two-and-a-half months and a curveball left in his arm.
Durbin start still up in the air: In the same report on Phillies.com, it seems Manuel is just as surprised Durbin was listed as Tuesday’s starter as the rest of us. It seems Manuel has yet to decide who will start tomorrow’s game, with J.A. Happ still considered a possibility.