The Nats Pay A Steep Price For Eaton: The New CF Has A Team Friendly 5 Year Deal Which Is The Key To Salvage The Trade

For a second straight week we love the Nationals with the best odd value of the week. They have some financial flexibility to bring in a few more ALL - Star Caliber players and also possess the prospects in order to get it done. If you believe (like I do)

Mike Rizzo is getting scorched for the fact he gave up the #3 and #38 top MLB Pipeline Prospects.  Throw in their #6 prospect – and you can see how people have said the Nats GM orchestrated a bad deal.  I am not one of those people.  This was a move that is more financial based than even the young players.  If Washington is still able to get a top line Closer, and add several more pieces, while dancing around the Luxury Tax Threshold of $195 MIL – I am down with this trade if they re-spend the cash on another Starter that is MLB ready this season.

For the majority of the last week we heard the Nationals were trying to land Andrew McCutchen in a trade, but they shocked the world on Wednesday by acquiring CF Adam Eaton from the White Sox in exchange for three RHP (Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning). 

These three guys represent the club’s #1, #3 and #6 prospects.  Giolito was ranked #3 overall and Lopez #38 by MLBPipeline.com

This seems like a lot for just one player – but you have to look at several factors here.

Mike Rizzo landed a player that just turned 28 a few years ago.. He is the leadoff guy the team has needed ever since the departure of Denard Span.  This is so critical when you consider the Nats will likely only have Bryce Harper for the next 2 years.

Eaton made it on Base 253 times in 2016 (176 Base knocks, 63 Bases on Balls and 14 Hit By Pitches). This translated to 91 Runs Scored. The LHB has only been a beacon of health for the last 2 season - Playing 310 Games - and racking up 1395 Plate Appearances. Eaton has averaged 30 Doubles, 9 Triples and 14 HRs.

Eaton made it on Base 253 times in 2016 (176 Base knocks, 63 Bases on Balls and 14 Hit By Pitches). This translated to 91 Runs Scored. The LHB has only been a beacon of health for the last 2 season – Playing 310 Games – and racking up 1395 Plate Appearances. Eaton has averaged 30 Doubles, 9 Triples and 14 HRs. I think his numbers will improve in the District hitting before Harper or Murphy. and with Turner ripping up the based in front of him.  If healthy, I would be surprised if Eaton doesn’t tally 100+ Runs over the next 2 campaigns.  He is one of the most underrated players in the game today.

With Trea Turner potentially hitting leadoff as well (didn’t mean to shortchange the sophomore player from hitting 1st in 2016 and maybe 2017), it will give the club 2 jackrabbits to hit 1 and 2 for the squad for the next 5 years. 

Turner had a 3 Slash Line of .342/.370/..567 and belted 35 Extra Base Hits in just 73 Games his own self. Having these two players back to back should be a great move to table set for Murphy and Harper.

Wherever Dusty Baker hits the tandem it is clear this team is going to be incredible for offense..

Project a Lineup of Turner or Eaton/Eaton or Turner/Harper/Daniel Murphy/Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth/Ryan Zimmermann and then the Catcher slot.  This could be as lethal as it gets.

Even more important is the $38.5 MIL only that Eaton will collect in player salary.  His Average Annual Salary will just $7.4 MIL per year towards the cap for the Nationals. 

This is incredible financial flexibility since Turner isn’t even eligible for Arbitration until 2020.  This gives the freedom to Mike Rizzo to add a Closer to the Roster still, and potentially secure a better Catcher for depth as well.

Adam Eaton’s Salary

2017 28 Washington Nationals $4,000,000
2018 29 Washington Nationals $6,000,000
2019 30 Washington Nationals $8,400,000
2020 31 Washington Nationals *$9,500,000
 2021 32 Washington Nationals *$10,500,00

Both 2020 and 2021 are Team Options that can be bought out for $1.5 MIL

Having an everyday Centerfielder also frees us Turner to play Shortstop, and effectively relegate Danny Espinosa to a Super Utility role in the Infield.

This is more roster flexibility when a guy like Zimmermann wil probably miss some contest at 1B.  This way the team can move Murphy to 1B and Espinosa to 2B – and they don’t lose much in production.

Eaton also gives the franchise a player beyond the grass past the time where Harper becomes a Free Agent after 2018.  Jayson Werth is also playing in his last year of his contract. 

Before anyone roasts Mike Rizzo, you must look at his incredible tenure as the Nats GM for trades. Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos? Steven Souza for Joe Ross and Trea Turner anyone? I will give Rizzo a pass if this one comes back to bite him and the organization in the butt. Washington has a 2 year window with Bryce Harper on the team, the urgency had to be addressed here.

Before anyone roasts Mike Rizzo, you must look at his incredible tenure as the Nats GM for trades. Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos? Steven Souza for Joe Ross and Trea Turner anyone? I will give Rizzo a pass if this one comes back to bite him and the organization in the butt. Washington has a 2 year window with Bryce Harper on the team, the urgency had to be addressed here.  I also say that his Free Agent Deal with Daniel Murphy last year was an incredible game changer.  With Harper also not making world class money yet. this offsets the dollars doled out for Zimmermann and Werth – who are not performing to their contracts.  The roster mix is awesome.

The club also recently non-tendered Ben Revere.  Other than Michael Taylor, the club was void of any true Outfielders with significant talent to patrol the Outfield for the start of the 2019 season.

The move also could spell the end of trading uber prospect Victor Robles.  With an ETA of 2018 slated for Robles (although maybe 2019) may see a future Nats OF of Robles in CF, Eaton move to LF, and Taylor to RF.

Washington has an impressive winning window of 2 years here.  I have to think that Rizzo will add a Reliever like Kenley Jansen, If anything that you could criticize Rizzo for is that he did not make sure that coming back in the deal was also for David Robertson too.

However if the dollars saved with the Eaton deal converts in Jansen, I will like this move a lot more. 

This cements the favorite label the Nats have in the NL East for the next s campaigns.  If Bryce Harper returns to 85% of his 2015 NL MVP year, this club is actually better than the Cubs for their lineup 1 – 6 in my view.

With Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg anchoring the Rotation for the next 5 years, you really shouldn’t worry about the Starters of the club for many seasons. 

Tanner Roark is also under Team Control until 2020, and Joe Ross won’t hit Free Agency until after the 2021 year ends.

Gio Gonzalez rounds out the Staff for potentially the next 2 years if he is not traded. A.J. Cole is a Starter the club could lean on for some innings going forward.

I think the club should go after Doug Fister on a one year deal, where he toted a 3.10 ERA for 2 seasons with the club. 

Mike Rizzo has seen many Free Agents and trade subjects go by the team (with them finishing in 2nd for landing of services), so he may have overpaid on this one.  I am willing to concede him the mulligan.  If the Nats win a World Series, then this deal is worth it. 

yes Lucas Giolito is a top rated prospect, but he also has been a recipient of Tommy John Surgery. With 3 Pitchers going back in this deal, chances are only one of them may translate into a wicked Starter.

Yes Lucas Giolito is a top rated prospect, but he also has been a recipient of Tommy John Surgery. With 3 Pitchers going back in this deal, chances are only one of them may translate into a wicked Starter.  Since the team already has Scherzer, Strasburg, Roark and Ross for at least the next 4 seasons, than it made sense to deal him.  I also think that the pitching prospects are often overrated  At least with Eaton you get 5 years of service for an AAV of $7.4 MIL – where if he was an open Free Agent, he would probably be able to command in the $11 – $13 MIL range.

By Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A big thanks goes out to our ‘Chief Writer/Part Owner’ Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s featured post.

To Subscribe and listen daily to  ‘Our Lead Personality’  Sully’s 20 Minutes Daily (every day since Oct.24, 2012) Podcast click here.  Guaranteed listening to the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast will be the best time you invest in online!

Advertisements

About hunterstokes21

I Played NCAA Baseball at Liberty University in the 90's with Sid Bream's kid Sheldon. Once Hit a Home Run by hitting a hot air balloon that was coming over 2nd base (It was agreed that if a balloon was hit before game by the umpires and coaches - even though they were setting up in LF/CF Bleachers). I believe in the "Church Of Baseball". Come in for worship anytime.

Posted on December 8, 2016, in MLB Trades and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: