PHILADELPHIA -- Nearly 11 years after being selected by the Phillies in the first round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft, Adam Eaton will finally pitch for Philadelphia.
The veteran right-hander has reached a preliminary agreement on a three-year contract with the Phillies with a mutual fourth-year option, multiple baseball sources have confirmed.
The Phillies declined to comment on the pact, which will become official as soon as the pitcher passes a physical, and could be announced later this week. One Phillies official described the deal as "close." ESPN.com reported the deal to be worth $24 million for the first three seasons, and the fourth year could bring the overall package to more than $33 million.
Eaton replaces Randy Wolf -- who is expected to join the Dodgers -- and fills out a starting rotation of Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jon Lieber and Jamie Moyer. Eaton is the third offseason signing for Philadelphia, who also retained Moyer and added infielder Wes Helms with a two-year, $5.45 million deal.
Eaton, 29, was taken as the 11th overall choice in the 1996 draft, then became the key to a four-player trade in 1999 trade that brought San Diego pitcher Andy Ashby to Philadelphia. Eaton debuted the next season at age 22 and made 22 starts.
Overall, he is 54-45 with a 4.40 ERA in parts of seven seasons with San Diego and Texas.
While Eaton has always been high on potential, he's had trouble staying healthy, and 2006 was no exception. A finger injury limited him to 65 innings with Texas, who acquired him the previous winter. His best season, statistically, came in 2003, when he posted a 4.08 ERA in 183 innings, allowing 173 hits and 68 walks.
The Phillies had been interested in Eaton since the start of the offseason and figured he could be a lower-cost alternative to top-tier names Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.