Inspired by a similar conversation Alex Yalen had with Casey Boguslaw of RO Baseball who writes about the White Sox, we did the same to discuss the blockbuster trade between the Washington Nationals and Chicago White Sox for Adam Eaton for Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning. We also went off-topic to discuss Mike Rizzo and the strength of the National League.
Here we go.
Me: So Casey, the Nats and White Sox pulled off a blockbuster trade that filled a gaping hole for the Nats as they needed an outfielder or shortstop (stop gap) and Adam Eaton fills the need.
The White Sox pulled 3 top prospects on the trade from the Nats and two of these prospects are Top 25 in all of baseball. Lopez easily could have been a #1 prospect for 10 teams.
How do White Sox fans look at this?
Casey: In the days after the Chris Sale trade, a rebuild was expected but many thought Adam Eaton may still be around to lead the new class.
While it wasn’t a huge surprise Eaton was the next move, I don’t think even the most optimistic fan expected as large of a package as they received. Giolito is a name everyone in baseball knew so fans were pretty excited.
But this was coming from a guy who a Chicago Tribune writer labeled as a “good fourth outfielder” before last season. Hell of a turnaround.
I’m going to guess the reaction from the Washington side is more mixed. Am I right?
Me: The initial reaction was “Did Rizzo lose his mind” but there was relief that it wasn’t a trade for Andrew McCutchen as the Nats already have 3 bounceback candidates in Ryan Zimmerman, Derek Norris and to a lesser extent Bryce Harper.
Eaton felt like a strong upgrade but you can’t forget the huge toll paid as Giolito is still a top talent who I believe had some stamina issues and the tweaks Mike Maddux made didn’t help him.
With Reynaldo Lopez, I always thought was a future closer and Dane Dunning seems like a prospect who time will tell.
Yes I believe it was a huge overpay for the Nats but if Eaton proves to be the missing link for the Nats to get to the World Series in 2017 then it will be worth it in the short-term.
Trades should be mutually beneficial but credit for prospect development also needs to be given to the acquiring team and the White Sox now have the task of developing these 3 promising players.
Do you think the Nats got fleeced?
Casey: No way! Adam Eaton is as consistent as they come at the plate and his floor is a 15-15 guy. Plus it met a huge need for the Nats, as regardless where Turner ends up, another outfielder was necessary. Plus Eaton can hit at the top of the lineup before Murphy and Harper.
Will this trade look uneven in hindsight? Perhaps, but the odds aren’t high. What’s the success rate of pitching prospects, even ones with this kind of pedigree? *Maybe* 50%?
The Nats goal is to win a championship (have to start with a series first) in these next two years with Bryce. Eaton moves them closer to that goal faster than the pitching prospects.
Would paying for Dexter Fowler accomplished the same thing without the loss of prospects? Perhaps. But that’s an organizational philosophy.
Me: Good to hear you don’t think that Nats got fleeced but I still think in 3 years and beyond we have to revisit this trade.
I’m still steamed about the 2002 trade for Bartolo Colon where the pre-Nats (Expos) traded Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips. I didn’t care in 2002 because I wasn’t an Expos fan but I sure cared in 2005 when they became the Nats with a barren farm system of Ian Desmond and Roger Bernadina and nobody else.
And you nailed it on Dexter Fowler which in my mind was the way to go even though it was an overpay in dollars and years.
Again, I like Adam Eaton. He is my kind of guy. Gritty and seems to over-achieve by doing the little things.
If he is a 15-25 guy I will be thrilled while providing great defense.
I think Eaton is better than his WAR as his intangibles have value that can’t be calculated.
To have Eaton and Trea Turner at the top of the lineup will be transformative to this Nats team.
You have your future rotation now all sewn up with how the White Sox got the hauls from the Sale and Eaton trade.
If Robertson was included in that trade I would have no complaints.
What does your rotation look like for 2017 if you don’t trade Quintana?
Casey: Sure, the Colon trade is “the one that always scares you”, but those don’t occur very often.
I’ll answer your last question first – I do believe they White Sox are prepared to head into the season with Quintana, Rodon, Shields, Holland, and Prospect X (no one from the Eaton trade) as their rotation.
I think Rick Hahn will stay strong demanding what he wants on Quintana, as he should, because I think someone will cave. The recent Yankees rumors do feel like there could be something.
I also think Hahn stayed strong with Robertson, because I assume Rizzo was asking for him. Robertson isn’t someone they have to move now as his value will probably remain steady until next offseason.
I have to imagine it won’t be Robertson to Washington though. I like the Nats bullpen but don’t know nearly as much as you do. Think they’ll be fine without a new name?
I have to imagine Rizzo tried for Robertson.
Me: On your first point the lopsided and egregiously poor trades don’t happen often but why was Dave Stewart fired? Credit to that awful trade for Shelby Miller.
Yes, I’m sure Rizzo wanted Robertson in that trade. We knew the trade was going down and I was waiting to hear who was coming back with Adam Eaton. It was Adam coming solo. All I can say is Hahn owes Rizzo one.
The White Sox shouldn’t be an embarrassment if they make no additional trades. They didn’t make the playoffs with Sale and Eaton so maybe you do trade any 1 year player like Frazier and get better for 2019 and beyond.
We wrote a piece about the Nats bullpen and it’s fine if a closer emerges from who Rizzo currently has.
Do you think Hahn makes more trades?
Casey: Yes, I think Frazier moves. Maybe Melky, although it doesn’t seem like there is any market for him, so maybe just hope he blows up in April and can move him. He has a weird every other year thing and this is supposed to be a bad one.
This is now my curiosity coming out – what is the overall consensus on Rizzo? As far as I can tell he hasn’t done anything great, besides draft Strasburg and Harper at 1-1 (whoopee!). I know bad press spreads quicker than good, so maybe I’m missing something.
Me: Funny you ask about Rizzo and he looks like a genius after replacing Jim Bowden and some great trades and like you said 2 no-brainer draft picks in Strasburg and Harper.
There are 2 schools on this.
1. In Rizzo We Trust
2. He is the recipient of a team that was bad for so long and had to get better and is not the answer at the GM position
I still am in the middle as results matter. The Nats have the best record in the MLB the last 5 years and have won 3 NL East championships but have never properly filled the July 31 holes IMHO. They make some moves but never go far enough. Late season injuries this year killed the team.
I think his Trea Turner trade and the signing of Daniel Murphy were incredibly wise. He has to get credit for that. Signing Max Scherzer was a no-brainer as that gets credited to ownership for ponying up the money.
Rizzo’s reputation is now tied to Adam Eaton and retaining Ryan Zimmerman as his starter and the Derek Norris trade and the inability to coax one of the proven free agent closers to DC.
He had Melancon in his clubhouse in August and if he offered him $60 million 4 months ago (maybe he did) the Nats probably keep him as you don’t test free agency with that offer in-hand I think.
So this will be the year to see if Mike Rizzo is a genius and whether those 4 moves or non-moves pan out.
A big swing and miss for the closer but maybe Rizzo pulls a rabbit out of his hat and saves the off-season.
To me when you have a great team you can more easily see the holes. Rizzo has fixed only one hole with Eaton and hard to say if he fixed the catcher spot but again I reserve judgement until he is done.
What do you think of that?
Casey: I think that’s about as complete, and truly insightful, of an answer as I could have hoped for.
As a fan of a team whose general manager situation has allowed a ton of criticism, including from yours truly, it’s easy to look at the success Washington has had and be jealous of anything they’ve done.
I hosted a podcast Monday afternoon (mind if I plug?) where we ranked the NL rosters as of this moment, trying to keep prospects out of the picture. I didn’t have Washington second, I won’t say where I had them, as this is what they call in the business “a tease”, but do you agree? I assume everyone has the same number one ranked NL team.
Me: It’s certainly the Cubs first but I don’t think they will be as good as last year. They will miss Dexter Fowler and I don’t think their starters can be as good. I have the Nationals as 3rd behind the Dodgers.
I like the Rockies as the most improved team who will fight for a WC and think they should take a flyer on Doug Fister with the hopes he can throw that sinker.
San Fran and the Mets I have behind the Nats.
Give us a link for the podcast. I’m intrigued.
Casey: Thanks. That was an absolute blast. Keep in touch.