During today's White Sox broadcast on CSN, General Manager Rick Hahn announced that the White Sox have agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension. According to CSN's Dan Hayes, is for $23.5 million dollars with club options for 2020 and 2021.
Eaton, who broke out last year with a .301/.362/.401 triple slash line and defense that warrant him being a finalist for a Gold Glove award, had been set to go to arbitration after the 2015 season and eligible for free agency after 2018. Eaton will now make $850K in 2015, $2.75 million in 2016, $4 million in 2017, $6 million in 2018 and $8.4 million in 2019. The White Sox hold options for $9.5 million and $10.5 million in 2020 and 2021, respectively, with a $1.5 million buyout for each year.
The deal, above all, provides security for both sides. Eaton gets a pretty hefty guarantee of over $20 million, trading in maximal potential for earning for certainty. The Sox, on the other hand, get a true top-of-the-order hitter and above-average centerfielder for his prime years.
While the Sox no longer have the ability to cut bait and/or win arbitration hearings to reduce Eaton's salary if he underperforms, if he simply holds his performance from 2014 for the majority of the deal, the deal will be well worth it for the club. Beyond the five year extension, the Sox also now hold two club options on Eaton, part of the reward for guaranteeing Eaton such a deal.
Eaton now joins Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Jose Abreu as a core of four* White Sox with contractual guarantees into the next decade. With some improvements and breakouts elsewhere on the roster, it will hopefully be a prosperous era on the South Side.
*notably, not the Core Four