Washington Nationals Acquire Adam Eaton From White Sox
By Matt Weyrich
The Washington Nationals have made their first big move of the offseason, trading three prospects to the Chicago White Sox for center fielder Adam Eaton.
After all the speculation, the Washington Nationals have finally made their move. On Wednesday evening, the team acquired Adam Eaton from the White Sox for right-handed pitching prospects Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning:
Eaton, 28, is coming off his third full season in the majors, hitting .284/.362/.428 with 14 home runs and 14 stolen bases. He is primarily a center fielder with experience in right. Signed to a relatively team-friendly deal, Eaton is under team control until after the 2021 season.
The Nats will likely play Eaton at his natural position of center, pushing Trea Turner to shortstop and bumping incumbent Danny Espinosa out of the starting lineup. Turner rose up through the minor leagues as a shortstop and the team was known to be actively searching for an outfielder in hopes of returning him to the infield.
Giolito was the top prospect in the Nats’ organization. The 22-year old starter was ranked No. 3 in the minors by MLB.com and No. 4 by Baseball America. He struggled during his short stint in the majors last season, picking up a 6.75 ERA in 21.1 innings.
He was sent to Chicago alongside Lopez, the team’s No. 2 pitching prospect, and Dunning, whom the team drafted 29th overall last summer out of the University Of Florida. All three pitchers ranked within the top six of MLB.com’s team prospect rankings.
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Washington was reportedly in on former MVP Andrew McCutchen, but the sides were not able to reach agreement. After failing to acquire White Sox starter Chris Sale on Tuesday, general manager Mike Rizzo decided to continue ongoing discussions with Chicago and trade for Eaton instead.
As it stands now, the Nats’ projected lineup looks like this: Turner, Eaton, Harper, Murphy, Rendon, Werth, Zimmerman, Norris/Lobaton. Eaton, Harper and Murphy are all left-handed, which suggests that Rendon may be inserted somewhere in between them to prevent teams from using situational pitchers against them late in games.
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This package looks like something the team would have given up for McCutchen. Adam Eaton is a good player and five years of control is certainly a luxury, but one can’t help but think the Nats might have overpaid out of desperation to make a move. The team is still in good shape going forward, but the farm system took quite a hit with this one.