Adam Eaton's chances to make the team out of spring training?
Slim to none.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. spoke candidly today at Citizens Bank Park about the competition for the fifth spot in the team's rotation.
"It's a four-man competition," Amaro said. "[Eaton] isn't involved in it. We just feel the other four would have a better opportunity to help us."
The other four are Kyle Kendrick, J.A. Happ, Carlos Carrasco and Chan Ho Park. Eaton is 14-18 with a 6.09 ERA in two seasons with the Phillies.
I think most people had seen this coming months ago. Eaton not only pitched terribly last season, he pitched even worse in the minor leagues. To explain his poor performance in the minor leagues (0-5 with a 7.02 ERA in seven starts in single-A Lakewood, double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley), Eaton explained in September that he wasn't asked to go out, pitch well and win games in the minor leagues. But it's clear the Phillies didn't buy that explanation or care much for his performance. During the NLDS, the Phillies sent pitchers to Florida to stay sharp in case of injury, then invited those pitchers back for the NLCS and World Series to watch the games from the dugout. Eaton declined to pitch in Florida and went home.
Eaton will make $8.5 million this season, plus a $500,000 buyout on a club option for 2010. That contract makes him nearly impossible to trade. The Phillies tried to give him away during the winter meetings, eating all but $1 million of his salary, but found no takers.
If he can't be traded, Eaton could be released before the season starts.
Regardless, it's safe to say he's one of the biggest busts in Phillies history.
Amaro has contacted free agent Ty Wigginton about a bench job. Nomar Garciaparra, Moises Alou, Rich Aurilia, Mark Grudzielanek and Kevin Millar also interest the Phils.
Chase Utley said that being ready for opening day remains a realistic goal.