White Sox land Giolito, 2 more prospects for Eaton
By Scott Merkin
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Here's a sentence White Sox fans have not heard in quite some time: Top 10 Minor League system.
But that is the new reality for the franchise, according to MLBPipeline.com's Jonathan Mayo, after the White Sox acquired right-handed pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning from the Nationals for right fielder Adam Eaton on Wednesday. The trio represented the Nos. 1 (Giolito), 3 (Lopez) and 6 (Dunning) prospects in the Nationals' system.
Thanks in part to Tuesday's acquisition of infielder Yoan Moncada and right-handed pitcher Michael Kopech from Boston for left-hander Chris Sale, the White Sox have, in a span of about 24 hours, added the Nos. 1, 3, 30 and 38 overall prospects in the game, according to MLBPipeline.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn doesn't get caught up in such rankings, especially considering the caliber of talent he had to trade to acquire this youthful group.
"It's nice for our fans to see, so it's a little more relatable in this day and age, when they're able to pick up a scouting report or video of a prospect, and they're a little more familiar names than they would be to, perhaps, the casual fan 15 years ago," Hahn said. "The weird part for me is -- [White Sox executive vice president] Kenny [Williams] and I were talking about this this morning -- as we walk around here, you have a lot of people congratulating us.
"Kindly -- well-intentioned congratulations from scouts or executives of other clubs, and it's a little awkward for us because, yeah, we traded Chris Sale.
"That's not something you feel great about," Hahn said. "That's not a feather in your cap, so to speak. But this is where we are, and I think people understand both within the game and certainly [based on] the reaction we've heard from White Sox fans over the last 24 hours. They get this is a necessary step in the process."
Based on White Sox fans' euphoric reaction on social media, they understand. And beyond the congratulations for Hahn and Williams as they took their unintended lobby victory lap, so do people in the game.
One die-hard White Sox fan just tweet me this is the happiest he's been since '05. A bit extreme, but I respect the point
"There are going to be some painful spots along the way, like when we have to say goodbye to important players like Chris and Adam," Hahn said. "But hopefully, they're starting to see some of the long-term benefit and what the goal of the plan is."
Giolito and Lopez will start as part of the Triple-A Charlotte rotation, with Dunning opening at the Class A level. Eaton's strong offensive and defensive numbers, along with his club control through 2021 via two club options, certainly raised Chicago's asking price.
The Nationals were in on the negotiations for Sale, and Washington general manager Mike Rizzo and Hahn realized that no players were off the table. Those discussions led to the Eaton deal coming together fairly quickly over the past two days.
The White Sox rebuilding process has grown bittersweet for Hahn, he has said repeatedly during the Winter Meetings, and it's not close to finished. Players such as Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu, David Robertson and Nate Jones figure to draw interest over the next few weeks or few months, or even into next offseason.
"What's going to dictate the pace is the value of our players, the potential return we get and how that fits with our long-term plan," Hahn said. "So there may well be nothing else while we're down here. There may not be anything else until after the holidays or through the [non-waiver] Trade Deadline, or into next offseason.
"We're taking a longer-term view. We're going to do this deliberately and with reason and logic, and react accordingly with the market."
Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Giolito and Lopez should compete for spots in an unsettled White Sox rotation. But while Giolito is ranked among the top prospects in baseball and Lopez also has a solid Minor League track record, both should open '17 on waivers in mixed formats after struggling with the Nats a year ago. In Chicago's outfield, Eaton's departure may open up a starting role for prospect Charlie Tilson -- a fleet-footed 24-year-old with solid contact skills who could help owners in 15-team leagues.