(CBS) The White Sox’s overhaul continued Wednesday, as they traded starting outfielder Adam Eaton to the Nationals for highly touted 22-year-old right-hander Lucas Giolito and two more pitching prospects.
The move comes a day after Chicago traded ace left-hander Chris Sale to Boston in a deal that signaled a focus on the long-term picture and not winning in 2017. In Giolito, the White Sox get a player who was rated as Baseball America’s No. 4 prospect as recently as last July and whom MLB.com currently ranks at No. 3. Giolito appeared in six games at the big league level in 2016 and struggled with a 6.75 ERA in limited action, but he was dominant in the minors. He had a 2.97 ERA and 9.1 strikeout/nine innings rate in 22 starts last season. Washington took Giolito in the first round of the 2012 amateur draft.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Severe Thunderstorm Warnings For DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Will Counties
The White Sox also acquired 22-year-old right-hander Reynaldo Lopez and 21-year-old right-hander Dane Dunning in the deal with the Nationals. Lopez was ranked as the No. 48 prospect in the game by Baseball America last year, when he had a 3.21 ERA and 10.4 strikeout/nine innings rate in 19 starts across two levels in the minors. He also appeared in 11 games for the Nationals, recording a 4.91 ERA. Lopez is MLB.com’s No. 38 prospect.
Dunning is a lower-tiered prospect who had a 2.14 ERA at Class-A in 2016. Washington selected him in the first round of this past season’s amateur draft.
“An important part of the process we are pursuing is acquiring quality pitching talent,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “We feel like we’ve done that today — and yesterday — en masse. Giolito and Lopez rank among the top prospects in baseball, while Dunning is another young prospect who possesses front-of-the-rotation potential.”
With the addition of seven prospects in the past two days, the White Sox now boast four of the top 38 prospects in the game, as rated by MLB.com. That includes two of the top three in second baseman Yoan Moncada (No. 1) and Giolito (No. 3).READ MORE: Man Shot And Killed While Sitting In Vehicle In South Loop
The 28-year-old Eaton had spent the last three seasons with the White Sox, primarily as the team’s lead-off hitter. He played center field before shifting to right field for most of the 2016 season, a move that resulted in him rating among the league’s best defenders and staying healthy. Eaton hit .284 with 14 homers, 59 RBIs, a .790 OPS and .362 on-base percentage in 157 games last season. He’s expected to play center field for the Nationals with former MVP Bryce Harper stationed in right field.
Eaton is under team control through 2021. Being in the prime of his career and with his value arguably as high as it has ever been, Eaton didn’t fit the timeframe for the now-rebuilding White Sox.
During his time with the White Sox, Eaton was one of the team’s vocal leaders, though his approach sometimes caused teammates to roll their eyes. In one of the more memorable interviews in recent Chicago sports history, Eaton in March staunchly defended what 14-year-old Drake LaRoche meant to the White Sox following a controversy in which his father, designated hitter Adam LaRoche, was asked by a team executive to have his son spend less time around the clubhouse, leading to the elder LaRoche’s retirement.
“Drake was more than just a kid that came to the clubhouse,” Eaton said. “He did more for people than we did for him by having him there every day. It’s a difficult dynamic to understand, and that’s why there’s such a strong outreach for us.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Update: Indiana Reports 336 New Cases, 30 Additional Deaths
“We lost a leader in Drake, which is crazy enough that a 14-year-old could be looked at like that, but the kid was so tremendous.”