The White Sox got a lot of outside love during the off-season as general manager Rick Hahn continued making major changes to a team that lost 99 games in 2013.
First baseman Jose Abreu was signed to put some pop in the middle of the lineup, center fielder Adam Eaton was acquired in a trade to bring some pep at the top of the order, and Matt Davidson was also added in a trade to add some future punch at third base.
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While the longer term future looks brighter for the Sox, they are not expected to be much better than a .500 team this season. And that's OK.
"Are the low expectations surprising? Not really," Eaton said. "But I think you see in this league that nearly every year, there's a team that goes last to first and everyone's surprised. You can't rule anybody out. If things get hot at the right time, any team in this league can make a push.
"What we can control is how we compete every day and we're going to try to get better every day and put it all on the field. That's all we can do."
While he is young (25) and has only 88 games of major-league experience, spread over the last two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Eaton is being counted on to help get the White Sox back to a competitive level.
The left-handed hitter is off to a promising start, and Eaton finished spring training with a .368/.438/.491 hitting line to go with 4 doubles, 1 home run, 3 RBI and 3 stolen bases.
"It's been good," Eaton said in Arizona last week. "I've been able to get on base and I've been able to learn what everyone's trying to do around me and how we can be as successful as possible. Defensively, it's been here and there. I'm learning the guys in left field and right field, the middle infielders, cuts and relays, how they get into position, talking to them about depth.
"There's a lot of things that go into it when you get with a new team, but we've been able to work out a lot of kinks and we're trying to get the foundation as strong as possible."
While there are quite a few new faces in the lineup like Eaton, Abreu, Avisail Garcia and Marcus Semien, who is opening the season as the White Sox' starting second baseman in place of the injured Gordon Beckham (left oblique strain), Eaton said the roster has good balance.
"It's a good team," he said. "We've got a good blend of veterans and young guys, and it's been a good mix so far. The young guys want to learn and the veterans want to help us along the way. It's been a good bonding experience for new guys like Matty (Davidson) and (Jose) Abreu and myself. We're going to keep bonding and getting better. That's all we're trying to do, get better every day and put the best nine out there on the field on the first day when the games actually matter."
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