The Washington Nationals acquired outfielder Adam Eaton from the Chicago White Sox in a huge trade on Wednesday, as first reported by MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
In exchange for Eaton, the White Sox received three highly touted prospects: right-handed pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning.
Eaton is obviously a big get for the Nationals. He comes with five years of team control, can man center field full-time and is a good bat to have at the top of the lineup.
In 2016, Eaton hit .284/.362/.428 with 14 home runs and 59 RBI. He was worth 6.0 WAR, according to FanGraphs.com, due to his stellar defense and base running. Eaton is the definition of a fantastic player, and he could be considered to be an underrated superstar.
Despite this, however, Washington is giving up three huge prospects to help expidite the White Sox' rebuilding process. Just a day after receiving Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech from the Red Sox in a Chris Sale trade, Chicago adds three more big names.
Giolito was ranked as the third-best prospect in all of baseball (and tops in the Nationals' organization). Lopez was ranked at No. 38. And while Dunning was not ranked on either the baseball top-100 or the Nationals top-30, he was their 1st round pick in 2016.
The deal has already garnered lots of priase for the South Siders, who appear to have moved from a state between rebuilding and contending to a full-on fire sale. Now, the team could continue to sell this offseason, as Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Melky Cabrera and others could be dangled for teams over the next few months. Moving Sale and Eaton is just the beginning.
The Nationals, on the other hand, are putting all their chips on the table. They are trading three legitimate prospects in this trade, and that has already made for a lot of critisicm. The team wants to win and win now. With Bryce Harper potentially leaving following the 2018 season, Washington has every incentive to go for it over the next two years.
This may mean that they are not done this offseason. USA Today's Bob Nightengale has already linked them to Aroldis Chapman, a closer they could pursure with money theoretically saved by acquiring Eaton over a more pricey veteran.
Regardless, this swap could end up going down as one of the most interesting and curious trades for years to come.