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Nationals acquire Adam Eaton from White Sox

Washington got their center-fielder, and it’s not Andrew McCutchen.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago White Sox Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The White Sox have traded outfielder Adam Eaton to the Nationals for minor-league pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago.

Washington has been aggressive so far at the Winter Meetings in their hometown, trying and failing to acquire ace Chris Sale as well as relievers Mark Melancon and Wade Davis. The Nats have expressed consistent interest in Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen for weeks, though the addition of Eaton will rule out that possibility.

The move for Eaton will allow Washington to move Trea Turner back to shortstop, making Danny Espinosa expendable in trades.

Eaton is the second major White Sox player to be traded this week, joining Sale, who went to the Red Sox for four prospects Tuesday. Eaton is controlled through the 2021 season, making him especially valuable to a Washington team looking for a long-term answer in center.

Eaton, who turned 28 yesterday, hit .284/.362/.428 with 14 homers in 157 games for the ChiSox last season. He is a veteran of five major-league seasons, is owed a maximum of $38.4 million through 2021.

Washington was known to be willing to discuss both Lopez and Giolito with the White Sox in scenarios involving Chris Sale, so the groundwork for today’s deal had been laid. The impressive trio heading to the White Sox in this deal joins prospects Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz as significant additions to Chicago’s farm system this week.

Giolito, 22, is the prize of the deal for the White Sox. He has previously been ranked as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, and, according to MLB.com, is the top prospect in a strong Nationals’ system. The former first-rounder struggled in his major-league debut with Washington last season, but still has top-of-the-rotation potential.

Lopez, 22, also struggled in 11 major-league games last season, but was ranked by MLB.com as the 38th-best prospect in all of baseball and the third-best in Washington’s system. The 6-foot, 185 lb. righty could project as a reliever long-term, but has the potential to be a solid major-league starter as well.

Dunning, 21, was Washington’s first-round pick (29th overall) in June and is ranked as the club’s 6th-best prospect. The former Florida Gator could reach the majors quickly for Chicago.