White Sox, Nationals Swap Eaton for Prospects as Sox Rebuild Continues

May 17, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder Adam Eaton (1) catches a ball hit by Houston Astros left fielder Jake Marisnick (not pictured) during the sixth inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
May 17, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder Adam Eaton (1) catches a ball hit by Houston Astros left fielder Jake Marisnick (not pictured) during the sixth inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nationals missed out on Chris Sale on Tuesday when the Boston Red Sox swooped in and offered the White Sox baseball’s best prospect. On Wednesday the the Nationals made the White Sox an offer that they couldn’t refuse in exchange for outfielder Adam Eaton.

The Chicago White Sox and the Washington Nationals reached an agreement for a deal that will send outfielder Adam Eaton to D.C. in exchange for three top pitching prospects. The Nationals who missed out on Chris Sale, and Wade Davis on Tuesday would not be outdone on again in their own backyard, and they made the White Sox an offer that they had to jump on.

The White Sox will receive right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito, right-handed pitcher Reynaldo Lopez and right-handed pitcher Dane Dunning. This is an absolute haul for the White Sox who have seriously accelerated their revamping of their farm system with the latest deal this afternoon.

The Nationals will receive an All-Star caliber outfielder in Adam Eaton who will likely assume the center-field role for the Nationals, allowing them to slide youngster Trea Turner back to his natural shortstop position in 2017.

Eaton was a Gold Glove Award runner-up in 2016, and posted a WAR of 6.2 for the White Sox. Eaton will bring a surplus of tools to the Nationals, including a scrappy team friendly mentality that will bode well with the Washington fans quickly.

More from Call to the Pen

Eaton hit .284 with 14 home runs, 59 RBI, 29 doubles and nine triples over the course of 157 games in 2016, primarily in the lead-off spot in the White Sox batting order. The speedy Eaton has posted a .290 average along with 29 home runs, 150 RBI, 83 doubles and 29 triples during his three seasons with the White Sox.

Eaton, 28, has an incredibly friendly team contract that the Nationals will inherit, that will give them control over Eaton through the 2021 season. The Nationals will owe Adam Eaton $38.4 million dollars over the life of the deal if they exercise the team options until 2021. Eaton has posted WAR ratings of 5.2, 3.9 and 6.2 over the last three seasons with Chicago, evidence of his all-around capabilities.

In return for Eaton the White Sox will receive Lucas Giolito, the Nationals number one prospect. Giolito is also the number one pitching prospect in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline, and the third overall prospect in baseball as well.

Giolito possesses a perfect rating of 80 on the 80/20 scale in regards to his highly touted fastball, which sits in the mid to upper nineties, occasionally hitting triple digits. Giolito also has a 12-6 curveball that that he throws with power and displays a hard, downward action as it nears the plate.

Giolito also has a plus rated changeup that gives him a third out type of pitch, and has him easily profiled as one of the games next premier front-line starting pitchers. Giolito bounced back from Tommy John surgery to post a sub three ERA in the minors for the Nationals in 2016, he also struck out 116 hitters while walking just 44.

The Nationals will also send their second ranked pitching prospect Reynaldo Lopez back to Chicago. Lopez is the thirty-eighth ranked prospect in baseball, and the eighth ranked right-handed pitcher in baseball entering the day.

Lopez, 22, pitched to a 3.21 ERA in the minors in 2016 over the course of 109.1 innings pitched, while the ERA is a little bit higher than I would like to see, Lopez struck out 126 while walking only 35 over that same span. He also posted a .220 batting average against in 2016.

Lopez has a fastball that sits in the mid nineties and can hit the triple digits on occasion. His fastball has a power curveball that compliments his explosive fastball well, and he also made significant improvements to his changeup in 2016.

The final piece that the Nationals will send to the White Sox is right-handed pitcher Dane Dunning. Dunning is the Nationals sixth ranked prospect, just a few months after they selected him in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft.

Dunning, 21, is a 6-foot-4 right-hander who possesses a plus fastball that sits around 95 miles per hour consistently with outstanding movement. Dunning also has very good changeup at this point, but his breaking ball has been viewed as “fringy” at this point.

Dunning will be one of the longer developments that the White Sox have received in the last two blockbuster deals with the Red Sox and the Nationals in the last day, with his development to the major league level looking like sometime in 2019 at this point.

The Nationals certainly get what they need at the moment in Adam Eaton, but they may have paid a very steep price for him in the end. I was actually surprised to see that the Nationals sent three plus arms back to Chicago in the deal. This move also essentially ends the Andrew McCutchen trade talks in Washington.

The White Sox on the other hand net two more Top-100 prospects today to add to the two that they acquired yesterday, including the top pitching prospect in the game. The White Sox now have six of the top prospects in all of baseball, including the top position player prospect in baseball and the top pitching prospect in all of baseball.

Rick Hahn has been released from the handcuffs that Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf have had him in during his tenure as the White Sox General Manager. Hahn has now proven that his way, is the seemingly better to this point in the process. The White Sox are on track to have one of the top five farm systems in baseball after they move the remainder of their valuable assets including Jose Quintana.

Next: Chris Sale and baseball's Golden State Warriors

If you have been following, I said last month that the White Sox would need to acquire seven Top-100 prospects during the course of their moves. That would give them nine in total, and put their farm system in the upper echelon of baseball. They have now acquired four of the seven that I estimated in two moves, and still have Quintana and others to move in the near future. The rebuild is well on its way at this point to say the least.