OXON HILL, Md. -- The Chicago White Sox may not be a strong contender in 2017.
But the American League club could be a force down the road after reeling in some more good young prospects for the second day in a row at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings near the nation's capital.
One day after trading pitcher Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox for a strong group of prospects, the White Sox dealt big league outfielder Adam Eaton, 28, to the Washington Nationals late Wednesday afternoon for young pitchers Lucas Giolito, 22; Reynaldo Lopez, 22, and Dane Dunning, 21.
Giolito entered 2016 as the top pitching prospect in the minor leagues. He made his big league debut last season with mixed success. Lopez also made his major league debut with the Nationals last year, and by the end of the season had surpassed Giolito as the best young pitcher in the system, according to many onlookers.
"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."
The National League East champion Nationals had been in talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates about center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Now it appears Washington will put Eaton in center field and move Trea Turner to shortstop, his natural position.
Danny Espinosa was the Washington shortstop in 2016 and has started at second base in the past. He could be dealt, or used as a utility player. Eaton is a .284 career hitter who hit his average last season, with 14 homers.
Giolito was 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA last year with the Nationals in six starts. Lopez was 5-3 with a 4.91 ERA in 11 games, with six starts. Dunning was a first-round pick of the Nationals out of the University of Florida in 2016, and he advanced to short-season Auburn of the New York-Penn League.