Wow, after losing out on Chris Sale and being unable to get the McCutchen deal completed, the Nationals finally found a deal they could get done, trading their 1st, 3rd, and 6th prospects for Adam Eaton. Chicago will receive pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning in the deal.
Eaton, who turned 28 on Tuesday, hit .284/.364/.428 with 29 doubles, 14 home runs, nine triples and 14 stolen bases for the White Sox in 2016, and has averaged .290/.362/.422, a 120 OPS+, and 5.1 WAR per season for the last three years.
It was an extremely costly deal for the Nationals that combined with the Sale trade has left the White Sox system pretty well stocked. Chicago is still shopping Jose Quintana, although one of his suitors, the Nationals may have just dealt the best pieces they had to acquire him.
Giolito ranks as the third-best prospect in baseball, via MLB.com, which rates Giolito’s mid- to upper-90s fastball an 80 on the 20-to-80 scouting scale and regards his curveball almost as highly. Giolito raced from Double-A Harrisburg to the Majors in 2016, posting a 2.97 ERA, 9.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 115 1/3 minor league innings and tacking on 21 1/3 more in the Majors. The White Sox’ plans for the towering 6’6″ righty aren’t yet clear, but he could easily become a regular big-league rotation option in 2017. Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets that the Nationals were “down” on Giolito, and some in the industry believe the Nats would have been willing to trade him in a one-for-one deal for Andrew Miller last summer, as Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweeted. Still, Giolito retains enormous upside.
Lopez is lesser known than Giolito, but brings a big arms of his own and rates 38th in MLB.com’s list. Like Giolito, he pitched in Harrisburg, Triple-A Syracuse and Washington in 2016, and he fared well in the minors before struggling a bit in the big leagues — he posted a 3.21 ERA, 10.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 109 1/3 minor league innings. He’s smaller than Giolito, at 6’0″, but like Giolito and Kopech, he’s got an electric arm — he can dial his fastball into the mid-90s and touch higher. He figures to pitch in the big leagues for at least a good portion of the 2017 season.
Dunning was the 29th overall pick in the June draft, and the 21-year-old rated as the Nats’ sixth-best prospect. Hayes tweets that the White Sox liked Dunning very much when they were scouting for the draft (when he was otherwise somewhat overlooked on a loaded Florida Gators team). MLB.com praises his fastball, which sits in the low- to mid-90s with good movement, and strong changeup. He made seven starts for the Nats’ short-season team in Auburn, posting a 2.14 ERA, 7.8 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. He seems likely to begin the 2017 season at the Class A or A+ level, and he’s likely to be at least a year or two from contributing in the big leagues.