There was a running joke in our family that the best way to get rid of junk was to put it out on the curb with a sign on it that read - For Sale, $20 - that way, someone would assume it was worth something and steal it. The joke started after my father did just that. An old chair that had worn out its welcome sat on the curb for a few days with a sign saying - FREE - and nobody took it. As a joke, he changed the sign to ask for $20 and somebody did in fact, steal the chair.
Maybe that's the problem. The Phillies are trying to give away Adam Eaton; volunteering to pay $8 million of the $9 million that he's guaranteed and nobody is taking him off the curb.
If my interpretation of the baseball rules is correct, you can't actually give a player to another team. You can accept a seemingly lost minor league player in exchange, but you can't actually give another team a player. What the Phillies are basically saying is - "you decide who you want to give us and we'll accept the trade" - which must do wonders for Eaton's already deflated ego.
It really wasn't that long ago that Adam Eaton was a decent pitcher. When his professional career started with the Phillies, he had some nice minor league numbers, including throwing a no-hitter at Double-A Reading. The Phillies traded him to San Diego and he had a couple of decent seasons, but also had a couple of pretty rough seasons. In January of 2006, the Padres traded him to Texas and in his one season with the Rangers, Eaton went just 4-8 with a 5.80 ERA. Still, the Phillies saw fit to give him a three-year, $24.5 million contract in November of 2006.
The Phillies haven't even gotten what Texas got out of Eaton as he's gone on to post the two highest ERAs of his career while pitching for the Phillies.
All that the Phillies are trying to do - and other teams know this - is to actually save themselves $400,000. It's now clear that if nobody bites, the Phillies would likely just release Eaton, possibly not now, but in Spring Training if he doesn't show any improvement, which would cost them the entire $9 million that he's owed on that unfortunate three year deal.
Knowing that, it's unlikely that anybody will bite and certainly, nobody will claim him off of waivers and be responsible for all $9 million. Instead, they'll wait until he clears waivers and then sign him for the major league minimum of $400,000, leaving the Phillies to pay $8.6 million instead of $9 million.
What was hoped to be somewhat of a reunion with Eaton returning to the organization that signed him, has turned out to be an albatross of tremendous proportions.