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updated: 12/11/2013 1:31 PM

Sox acquire Eaton in three-way deal

Pitcher Santiago goes to Angels, outfielder Trumbo from L.A. to Diamondbacks

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  • The White Sox get a much-needed left-handed hitter in a three-team trade with Arizona and the L.A. Angels. The Sox gave up pitcher Hector Santiago and get 25-year-old center fielder Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks.

      The White Sox get a much-needed left-handed hitter in a three-team trade with Arizona and the L.A. Angels. The Sox gave up pitcher Hector Santiago and get 25-year-old center fielder Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks.
    Associated Press

  • White Sox starting pitcher Hector Santiago, a 25-year-old left-hander who went 4-9 with a 3.56 ERA in 34 games last season, is headed to Los Angeles as part of a three-way trade with the Angels, Diamondbacks and White Sox.

      White Sox starting pitcher Hector Santiago, a 25-year-old left-hander who went 4-9 with a 3.56 ERA in 34 games last season, is headed to Los Angeles as part of a three-way trade with the Angels, Diamondbacks and White Sox.
    Associated Press

 
 

The White Sox were at the bottom of the American League with 598 runs scored last year, the franchise's lowest total in a non-strike season since 1980.

Sox general manager Rick Hahn actually started retooling the lineup on July 30 when he acquired right fielder Avisail Garcia in a three-way trade from the Tigers. On Oct. 29, Hahn and the Sox invested $68 million over six years in Cuban slugger Jose Abreu.

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Still, there were more holes to fill, and Hahn plugged one at the top of the order Tuesday with the acquisition of outfielder Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks. It was another three-team deal, with White Sox left-handed pitcher Hector Santiago going to the Angels and power-hitting outfielder Mark Trumbo moving from Los Angeles to Arizona.

After missing most of the first half of last season with a sprained ligament in his left elbow, Eaton played in 66 games with the Diamondbacks and batted .252 with 10 doubles, 4 triples, 3 home runs and 22 RBI.

The Sox have been looking for a gritty hitter to fill the leadoff spot, a hitter capable of taking pitches, putting the ball in play and keeping the strikeouts to a minimum. They believe they've found their guy in Eaton, who turned 25 on Friday.

"This is a dirt-bag baseball player," Hahn told reporters at baseball's winter meetings in Orlando. "We were looking to give ourselves an edge that we were lacking a little bit in recent months. He's a real nice kid for us. He's one of the names at the top of our target list."

Eaton, a left-handed hitter, is best known for batting .375 with 47 doubles, 5 triples, 7 home runs, 48 RBI, 130 runs scored, 44 stolen bases and a .456 on-base percentage in 130 games with Class AAA Reno and AA Mobile in 2012.

He was named Pacific Coast League MVP and led all full-season minor leaguers in batting average, doubles, runs scored and hits while ranking second in OBP.

On his Twitter account (@AdamSpankyEaton), the 5-foot-8, 185-pounder had a positive reaction to the trade: "I'm feeling the love from the White Sox nation ... I love it!! I can feel the passion ... Can't wait to get started!"

One major-league scout who has seen a lot of Eaton said Sox fans should love the new addition.

"I've scouted the Diamondbacks' organization for a long time," the scout said. "I think he was a terrific pickup and as you'll see, he can really run.

"I guess it came down to Arizona going with (A.J.) Pollock or Eaton, and they stuck with Pollock. I thought Eaton was a better player a couple years ago, but Pollock is playing pretty well."

Eaton plays all three outfield spots, but he is likely to end up as the White Sox' everyday center fielder.

"Adam as the center fielder for the next several years is the plan right now," Hahn said. "With (Alejandro) De Aza and (Dayan) Viciedo, we have the option of obviously keeping them both and letting (manager) Robin (Ventura) play match-ups or we'll likely continue to receive calls on both those players that we've had over the last several weeks."

De Aza was the Sox' leadoff hitter last season. He established career highs in hits (160), home runs (17), RBI (62) and runs scored (84) while batting .264, but De Aza struck out 147 times in 607 at-bats, committed 8 errors and was guilty of making 17 outs running the bases, according to Baseball Reference.

De Aza actually prefers left field to center, so if he is not traded, Viciedo is the other obvious candidate.

Viciedo batted .265 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI last season while posting a .304 OBP.

Santiago's exit was all but sealed on Monday, when the White Sox signed right-handed starter Felipe Paulino.

In 34 games last year (23 starts), Santiago was 4-9 with a 3.56 ERA.

Follow Scot's White Sox and baseball reports on Twitter @scotgregor.

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