White Sox deal Eaton to Nationals for 3 young pitchers

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OXON HILL, Md.  — The Washington Nationals acquired center fielder Adam Eaton from the Chicago White Sox for three young pitchers, including top prospect Lucas Giolito and hard-throwing Reynaldo Lopez, who made the team's postseason roster in 2016.

The trade was made Wednesday, the last full day of the winter meetings outside the nation's capital, and comes after Washington failed in its bid to get left-handed pitcher Chris Sale from the White Sox, who instead sent him to Boston.

By putting Eaton in center, the Nationals can move Trea Turner — runner-up for 2016 NL Rookie of the Year — back to his natural position, shortstop. Eaton has three guaranteed seasons left in a $23.5 million, five-year contract that calls for him to earn $4 million next year, $6 million in 2018 and $8.4 million in 2019.

Below is the official release from the White Sox:


NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The Chicago White Sox have acquired right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito, the top-ranked pitching prospect in baseball and No. 3 prospect overall, and right-handers Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning from the Washington Nationals in exchange for outfielder Adam Eaton.

“An important part of the process we are pursuing is acquiring quality pitching talent. We feel like we've done that today -- and yesterday -- en masse," said Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager.  “Giolito and Lopez rank among the top prospects in baseball, while Dunning is another young prospect who possesses front-of-the-rotation potential."

           Giolito, 22, combined to go 6-5 with a 2.97 ERA (38 ER/115.1 IP) and 116 strikeouts last season between stops at Class A Hagerstown, Class AA Harrisburg and Class AAA Syracuse.  The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Giolito also pitched in six games (four starts) with Washington, going 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA (16 ER/21.1 IP) and 11 strikeouts during his major-league debut.

            Giolito has gone 25-15 with a 2.73 ERA (112 ER/369.0 IP) and 397 strikeouts in 75 games (73 starts) over five minor-league seasons after being selected by the Nationals in the first round (16th overall) of the 2012 draft out of Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles.  He played in the All-Star Futures Game in 2014-15, was named Washington’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2014 as well as their top overall prospect entering each of the 2014-16 seasons, according to Baseball America.

Lopez, 22, is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 3 prospect in the Nationals system and No. 38 overall in baseball.  He went 5-7 with a 3.21 ERA (39 ER/109.1 IP) and 126 strikeouts over 19 starts last season with Harrisburg and Syracuse, averaging 10.4 strikeouts per 9.0 IP while holding opponents to a .220 (90-410) average.

A native of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, Lopez also made his major-league debut with the Nationals in 2016, going 5-3 with a 4.91 ERA (24 ER/44.0 IP) and 42 strikeouts over 11 games (six starts).  He struck out 11 batters over 7.0 IP in a victory at Atlanta on August 18, becoming just the fourth rookie in Nationals history to fan 10-plus in one game.

Lopez has gone 19-19 with a 3.16 ERA (108 ER/307.2 IP) and 303 strikeouts in 61 games (56 starts) over five minor-league seasons after being signed by the Nationals as a non-drafted free agent on June 21, 2012.

Dunning, 21, is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 6 prospect in Washington’s system.  The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Dunning made his professional debut in 2016, going 3-2 with a 2.02 ERA (8 ER/35.2 IP) and 32 strikeouts with the Gulf Coast League Nationals and Advanced Rookie Auburn.

He was selected in the first round (29th overall) of the 2016 draft out of the University of Florida as compensation after the Nationals lost Ian Desmond in free agency.  Dunning, a native of Orange Park, Fla., helped lead Florida to a berth in the 2016 College World Series.

Including Tuesday’s five-player trade with Boston that yielded Yoan Moncada (No. 1) and Michael Kopech (No. 30), the White Sox have acquired four of the top 38 prospects in baseball, according to MLB.com, to go along with right-hander Carson Fulmer (No. 58) and catcher Zack Collins (No. 80), their first-round picks in the 2015 and 2016 drafts, respectively.

           Eaton, who turned 28 yesterday, batted .284 (176-619) with 29 doubles, nine triples, 14 home runs, 59 RBI and 91 runs scored last season, his third with the White Sox after being acquired from Arizona on December 10, 2013.