Thursday, December 8, 2016

Nationals send former Suns to Chicago

I usually don't write about teams trades that I don't cover,but today's swap between the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals badly needed to be a topic for discussion.

Not just because there were two former Hagerstown Suns players involved in the deal either,but to discuss the apparent all in attitude by the Washington Nationals,a team that you always have to give credit for at least trying to improve a franchise that to this point has failed to win in the postseason.

The Nationals sent arguably their three pitching prospects and at minimum three of their top four (Depends on where you rank Erick Fedde) to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton.
Former Hagerstown Suns Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are headed to Chicago along with the Nationals top draft pick from last season in Dane Dunning as the White Sox add those three players to the haul led by Yoan Moncada in the Chris Sale trade earlier in the winter meetings in an attempt to bolster one of the weaker farm systems in the game.

For the White Sox,it makes a ton of sense to move some valuable players from a team that went just 78-84 with those assets.
Chicago may not be done if they desire,as they still have players of value that they could receive even more prospects for in pitcher Jose Quintana and especially infield power bats Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier,should they desire to do so.
Giolito is the big name of the three,but I've always preferred Reynaldo Lopez of the two.
On the radar gun,the two are pretty similar,but Giolito's fastball has always been straight with little movement even in his Hagerstown days and no matter the speed,when you fire straight fastballs against major league hitting,they tend to disappear as seven of them flew over the fence in just 21 big league innings last season.
I like Lopez's stuff and movement,my main worry about him is his slight frame.
Pitchers with similar size as Lopez tend to flash brightly and flame out quickly,so there is somewhat of a risk over the long term.
I didn't get to see Dane Dunning,who was Washington's first round pick out of the University of Florida last season.
Dunning was expected to start the season in Hagerstown before the trade and perhaps with a fortunate assignment (the White Sox have teams in the SAL and Carolina leagues) I could still see him pitch.

For Washington,who had been rumored to be talking to Pittsburgh for Andrew McCutchen to patrol center field,this comes as a surprise.
Adam Eaton hit .284/14/59 and those numbers have been consistently in that range over the last three years with the power picking up over the last two seasons.
Eaton brings some speed and intangibles to Washington as he is a high intensity player that Nationals fans should quickly love.
At 28,Eaton should be in his prime years and is under contract for five years (three years and two club options),so that could play into the exorbitant price paid for him.
Eaton is also a good defensive right fielder,but is not as solid in center,which is where he will play as a National.
Bryce Harper isn't moving from right,so plugging Eaton into center means that Trea Turner can be moved to shortstop,where his bat will play even more than center.

In my opinion,this smacks of a panic move.
The Nationals see the window closing with several of their bats possibly moving on over the next two or three seasons and having dealt many of their top prospects (they have held onto Victor Robles and Juan Soto) in trades,the Nationals are in win now mode.
I understand that and give them credit for continuing to tinker with the lineup in an attempt to put them over the top,but this is such an oppressive cost for a player that is good but not great.
Desperation can make teams do things that they normally would not and I feel some desperation on the Nationals part.
Had the Pirates received those three players for Andrew McCutchen,I would have rated it an excellent deal for the Pirates,but to add those three pitchers for Adam Eaton,I would score that as a win for the White Sox.
Prospects are far from a guarantee and they arrive with plenty of risk,but the more you get-the better your chances of success.
Adam Eaton may be a productive player in Washington,but the White Sox made the better deal-even with risk....

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