When the Nationals sent Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning to the White Sox in order to acquire Adam Eaton, it was a big gamble in a lot of ways. At the time, Giolito and Lopez were among the better pitching prospects in baseball, but Eaton was a player with some team control that had just come off a year where he had put up 5.8 fWAR thanks to solid offensive production and elite defensive numbers.
Unfortunately, that trade thus far has REALLY not worked out for the Nationals as Eaton has not been able to stay on the field. Over the last two seasons, Eaton has played just 31 games due to a torn ACL in 2017 followed by issues with his ankle in 2018. For a player that was supposed to be a big part of Washington making a push for a World Series title, his loss has been devastating.
Well today, it looks like the Nationals may actually get the chance to get a return on their investment.
Adam Eaton is active, and he is in the lineup in right field. Bryce Harper will play center.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) June 9, 2018
While it is likely best to temper one’s immediate expectations for Eaton given how much of a layoff he has had over the last couple of years, his on-base skills and defensive prowess is a big boost for a Nationals team that needs to get more production out of its outfield. Bryce Harper has kept hitting home runs, but has struggled at the plate beyond that this year. Juan Soto’s call-up was helpful, but asking such a young player to continue a high rate of production is a tough sell. Eaton’s return is welcome especially since the NL East appears as though it will be a tight race for a while with the Braves and Phillies in addition to Washington being real contenders.
In his eight games this season, Eaton has slashed .345/.424/.655 with two home runs after posting a .297/.393/.462 line in 23 games with the Nationals in 2017.