There’s a fine line between being confident and being cocky. Adam Eaton might cross that line from time to time.
An anonymous Arizona Diamondbacks player told KTAR-AM shortly after Eaton was traded to the Chicago White Sox on Dec. 10 that losing the outfielder was “addition by subtraction” and the 25-year-old was a “selfish me-me type player.” The news stunned Eaton.
“I haven’t heard anything about any of it,” Eaton told The Arizona Republic one week after the trade. “I didn’t have any indication. I felt like I left on pretty good terms. I felt like I had a pretty good relationship with most of the guys and the PR department and a lot of the front-office people. After the trade, they called me and kind of wished me good luck.”
Eaton once was considered one of the Diamondbacks’ most prized prospects, turning heads in the minors while playing with an edge. That edge earned him a negative reputation among some members of the organization, however, as The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro was told that Eaton “irked people in the clubhouse,” and his “attitude had a tendency to wear on people.”
“If I did anything to offend anybody, I sincerely apologize,” Eaton said regarding the negative perception. “I don’t want that to be the lasting impression that I leave. I want the impression to be that I played hard and the team went a different direction and that’s the reason for it. I don’t like that that has been spread. I want to try and squash that. I don’t like that idea of me out there.”
Eaton, who was a 19th-round draft pick in 2010, batted .355 through three minor-league seasons and was slated to be Arizona’s center fielder and leadoff hitter, but an elbow injury limited him to 66 major-league games in 2013. He eventually became expendable, as former first-round pick A.J. Pollock played well enough last season to be considered the Diamondbacks’ starting center fielder.
Eaton, a .254 hitter with five homers and 27 RBIs in 88 career major-league games, said he understands how people can get the wrong idea about him through his style of play. But at just 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, Eaton says a hard-nosed style is the only way to go.
“The way I do hold myself, I need to be a little bit cockier,” Eaton said. “I need to have that presence, because everybody tells me something I can’t do. So I kind of have to have that presence about you, I feel. I think that’s what makes me have a little bit of an edge, because I am a little bit like that.”
Eaton now will begin a new chapter of his baseball career in Chicago. And although he left Arizona on unflattering terms, Eaton said he enjoyed his time in the desert and understands baseball is a business.
Photo via Facebook/Adam Eaton