Tonight, the Washington Nationals traded Danny Espinosa to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for two right-handed pitching prospects.
After missing Winterfest this weekend and reportedly being not happy about his new role with the Washington Nationals, Danny Espinosa’s time with the Nats is now over. The Washington Nationals traded Espinosa to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for right-handed pitching prospects Austin Adams and Kyle McGowin. Josh Norris of Baseball America was the first to report the deal:
In Espinosa’s seven seasons with the Washington Nationals, he had a slash line of .226/.302/.388 with 92 home runs and 285 RBI’s. Last season, he had a career-high 24 home runs in 157 games, but he struck out a career-high 174 times. He is under contract for one more season. The Nats drafted him in the third round back in 2008.
Earlier today, Espinosa was not one of the players present at the Washington Nationals annual Winterfest. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Espinosa didn’t show up because he was unhappy about his new role because of the Adam Eaton deal now that Trea Turner is going back to shortstop:
"“According to a person familiar with the situation, Espinosa believes the trade for Eaton will likely cost him his job as the club’s starting shortstop.”"
This past season, Dusty Baker was extremely loyal to Espinosa and the veterans. During the first two months of the season, Espinosa stayed in the lineup despite not hitting higher than .208 in a given month. Then, after a rough month of September and a bad start to the NLDS, Espinosa stayed in the lineup as the starting shortstop.
Without Espinosa, the Washington Nationals have Wilmer Difo who has the ability to play multiple positions in the infield. If they choose to go the free agent route to bring in a utility player, they could always re-sign Stephen Drew.
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By going to the Angels, Espinosa has a chance to start everyday at second base with Andrelton Simmons being the team’s current shortstop. Before this trade, according to Roster Resource, the projected starter for the Angels at second base is Cliff Pennington.
As for the two prospects back in this deal, McGowin is the 20th ranked prospect in the Angels system according to MLB Pipeline. The 25-year-old started 2016 at double-A Arkansas, but ended the season at triple-A Salt Lake City. He went 6-12 with a 6.11 ERA in 22 starts and his 98 strikeouts were the second most in their rotation.
Adams spent the bulk of the 2016 season at double-A as a reliever. He went 0-1 with a 3.05 ERA in 32 games. He had 61 strikeouts, which was the second most among all Arkansas relievers and he walked 24 batters. Over his final 11 appearances of the season, the 25-year-old had a 0.77 ERA.
All in all, the Washington Nationals didn’t get much for Espinosa, but he will get a chance to play everyday for the Angels while the Nats add a couple more pitching prospects into their farm system.