Here’s Why You Can Be Happy About Trading Away 3 Tremendous Pitching Prospects

Okay, so maybe happy is a bit strong of a word, but at least you should consider and think about the flip side of the return.

 

Okay, so maybe happy is a bit strong of a word, but at least you should consider and think about the flip side of the return.

Mike Rizzo is hardly one to go down without a fight and quietly into the night during the offseason, especially in recent years. Every year the Nationals are often touted as “winning the off season.” Well yesterday had a lot of fans doubting if that title still fits.

On Wednesday, December 7th, Mike Rizzo traded 3 big prospects (Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning) to the Chicago White Sox for OF Adam Eaton. Naturally, all of the twitter GMs took to twitter to show their dismay, or in rival team fanbases happiness, of the trade:

You know, when I first saw the trade I was like:

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(via GIFy)

Now after you digest what happened here’s why all of you Twitter GMs should chill and why you Nationals Fans can R-E-L-A-X: 

  1. Apart from Lopez, neither Dunning nor Giolito are MLB ready, so hypothetically you could argue that really the trade was for Lopez straight up. (Now before you pull out the “omg she’s so dumb she has no idea what she is talking about, yes, I’m aware that is an incredibly over-simplified way of looking at it.) People won’t and should not look at it that way because they see the upswing of Giolito’s future coming. I’m just saying there is a very good reason why the Nationals only had him come in 6 times and still sent him back down to the minors. There is a lot of work that needs to be done and there is no timetable when he will truly be MLB ready. When (if) that day comes, I’m sure that the Nationals will always think “that’s what could have been” but I’m sure Rizzo is thinking within the next 2 years, our improved line up with Eaton will lessen that hurt.
  2. All we all heard about was Andrew McCutchen to DC before the Winter Meetings and during the beginning of the meetings. To be honest, this will also get some eye raises, but I prefer the Eaton deal. McCutchen is coming off a down year, is 2 years older, and is under contract for only 2 more years. The Nationals have plucked Eaton in his prime baseball playing days. Coupled with that, while he will be on payroll through 2021, he is only due $38.4 million. Eaton is not a Bryce Harper or a Mike Trout, but his solid defense ranks him among top players. Per Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal), Eaton could fetched a contract over $100 million if he were a free agent. Think about it, the Nationals paid Ben Revere $9 million dollars last season, and we were all aware of how well that panned out this past season. Not only did the Nationals get a top outfield talent, but they also got him like a Black Friday sale steal.
  3. Trea Turner faired pretty well hanging out in center field for the 70+ games he was in the majors. If you haven’t seen him play short stop, you’re in for a real treat. Finally with the center field questions plugged, Trea Turner can get back to his natural position in the infield. It’s pretty crazy to think that he could look any better than he already does, but get excited Nats fans.
  4.  A cheap Eaton, a cheap Trea Turner till 2022, and Strasburg locked up, the Nationals have some key pieces locked moving forward, regardless of where others end up.  If the Nationals do end up letting Bryce Harper walk, Eaton could just slide right on over to right field, where he has been playing for the White Sox for this past season. That’s probably not the news most Nationals fans want to think about, but it is an option that we can’t blindly think won’t happen.
  5. Trading away 3 pitching prospects has nothing to do with the starting rotation. As it stands now, the Nationals will have the same starting rotation as last season. While division rival fans are rejoicing that Giolito will no longer be a National, the rotation used last year still was able to help the Nationals win 95 wins, win the division, and come within 1 “You shouldn’t have sent him, Bob Henley” moment to potentially win the NLDS series against the Dodgers. (Okay so maybe that is an over simplified way of dissecting Game 5, but yes that is the moment where it all went down hill.)

To summarize, yes, a 6’6,” 22 year old who could easily become a staple in any starting rotation along with a top MLB potential closer and another mid 90’s fastball thrower is a lot to give up for any player. And yes, we are awayre that Adam Eaton isn’t as flashy as a McCutchen, doesn’t draw the name recognition as a Sale, and is not the closer the Nationals still need. All I heard last year from fans was that the Nationals “overvalue” their prospects. Well finally Rizzo took the plunge down the rabbit hole in a big way. And yes, while this could turn out to be a terrible trade if/when Giolito gets slotted into the starting rotation that isn’t in DC or Lopez is key out of the pen, for at least 2017, the Nationals are ahead in this trade.

One thing fantasy sports always reminds me (and most of you too I imagine) is that I’d make an absolutely terrible General Manager. I mean, no salary cap, no limit to players other than draft position, and I still am 4-9 right now. (Okay to be fair I completely forgot about our draft and it auto-drafted my defense first, but come on.) And with any off season, I’m also reminded that I am definitely not psychic, and neither are you most likely.  With any trade, who can really say how it will go.  Even your GM doesn’t really know, but they have seen enough to be pretty confident in their decision. And while we are hanging out in the unknown together, something tells me that the guy who brought Trea Turned and Joe Ross to DC out of Steven Souza Jr and Travis Ott, probably still has something up his sleeve.

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