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The Cubs And Adam Eaton, Trade Target

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The Cubs and White Sox haven't made a trade in nine years.

David Banks/Getty Images

White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton just had the best year of his career, and he turns 27 in a few days. Why would they trade him?

Well, "sell high" is often a good way to get value out of your players. Despite what Jerry Reinsdorf thinks, the Sox aren't likely going to be contenders in the American League Central in 2016, not with the defending World Series champion Royals, an improving Twins team and a competitive Indians club ahead of them.

So why not go after Eaton? He's got a reputation as a good defensive center fielder, though the numbers don't really back that up (-1.1 defensive bWAR in 2015). How he managed to hit 14 home runs in 2015 after combining for a career total of six over his first three seasons in the big leagues is beyond me. It wasn't the Cell's reputation as a launching pad, either; he hit eight on the road, six at home.

Eaton's young enough that he could be the Cubs' regular center fielder for several seasons. That means Albert Almora could be someone the Cubs could include in a trade; so could Billy McKinney. The Sox would certainly ask for a major-league player to be included. That could be Javier Baez or Starlin Castro, either of whom could replace the departed Alexei Ramirez at shortstop.

Eaton is under contract at very team-friendly terms (assuming, that is, that he keeps hitting the way he did in 2015) through 2019. The next four years will cost the Sox a little over $21 million, and there are team options for 2020 ($9.5 million) and 2021 ($10.5 million) with $1.5 million buyouts for each.

Eaton would not only solve the Cubs' CF issue, but he could also lead off, as he posted a .361 on-base percentage in 2015 as the Sox' leadoff man.

If you're curious, the last major-league trade between the Cubs and White Sox happened November 16, 2006, when the Cubs acquired Neal Cotts for David Aardsma. That's the only Cubs/White Sox big-league deal since the awful (from the Cubs standpoint, anyway) Matt Karchner-for-Jon Garland trade in July 1998. Maybe it's time for another deal, this time one that benefits both teams.