NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Washington Nationals are getting the centerfielder they’ve been chasing and the Chicago White Sox now look like a team stockpiling big-name prospects.
The two teams completed a trade Wednesday that will send Adam Eaton to the Nats in exchange for a package of prospects led by Lucas Giolito, a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher who is the Nats’ No. 1 overall prospect. The Sox are getting two more minor-league pitchers too.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports was first to report the deal was done. Our Jeff Passan confirmed it:
Source confirms Adam Eaton goes to the Nationals for Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning. Wow. What a haul for the White Sox.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 7, 2016
According to Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago, the White Sox are also getting Reynaldo Lopez, the Nats’ No. 3 prospect, and Dane Dunning, the Nats’ No. 6 prospect.
That’s a big return for Eaton, a 28-year-old who slashed .284/.362/.428 last season and plays above-average defense. He was worth 6.0 Wins Above Replacement last season, according to Fangraphs, which was tied for eighth-best in the American League, on par with Robinson Cano. Adding Eaton also allows the Nats to move prized youngster Trea Turner out of the outfield, so he can play shortstop full-time.
“Adam fit our club perfectly, left-handed bat, balances our lineup, high energy guy, edge to him, plays the game the right way,” said Nats GM Mike Rizzo. “We see the arrow still going up with him and he’s a guy that will have years of control and cost certainty and it allows us the flexibility to do many more things.”
Making Eaton even more appealing to the Nats is his contract. He’s under team control through 2022 and is due $4 million next season, $6 million in 2018 and $8.4 million in 2019. The Nats will now hold team options for Eaton: $9.5 million in 2020 and $10.5 million in 2021.
What the Nats are saving in money, they might be giving up in future talent. Dunning was the Nats’ first-round pick (No. 29 overall) last year. Lopez, 22, struck out 126 hitters in 109 minor-league innings last season. He was also 5-3 with a 4.91 in 11 big-league appearances.
Giolito, of course, was one of the Nats’ most-coveted youngsters the last few years. He ranks as the No. 3 overall prospect in the game, according to MLB Pipeline. He made his MLB debut last season, starting four games and make two relief appearances for the Nats. He had 6.75 ERA. In five minor-league seasons, he had a 2.73 ERA.
With Tuesday’s trade of Chris Sale, that means the White Sox have acquired three of MLB Pipeline’s top 30 prospects in two days. Yoan Moncada, the centerpiece of the Sale deal, ranks No. 1. and pitcher Michael Kopech, also in the Sale deal, ranks No. 30. And Lopez isn’t far behind. He’s No. 38 on the list.
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