Washington, D.C. - In a Washington Post report tonight after the first day of the Washington Nationals’ annual gathering of fans and players, Winterfest, WaPost Nationals beat writer Jorge Castillo, citing a “person familiar with the situation”, reported that Nats’ infielder Danny Espinosa made the decision to skip the event following the trade that brought Adam Eaton to D.C. and presumably pushed the veteran shortstop into a utility role.
With Eaton brought to Washington to play center (according to General Manager Mike Rizzo), Espinosa, Castillo wrote, “believes the trade... will likely cost him his job as the club’s starting shortstop,” since shortstop Trea Turner is expected to move back to his original spot in the infield after playing center for the Nationals in 2016.
“The Nationals declined to comment on Espinosa’s absence,” Castillo wrote.
Rizzo publicly acknowledged the possibility that Espinosa could be dealt when he spoke to reporters at last month’s GM Meetings, telling reporters, as quoted by Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes, “I could see him as utility player.”:
“I could see him as a player you could utilize in a trade context to get another piece that you need. There’s a lot of moving parts we can go, and a lot of different avenues we can attack.”
After the deal to acquire Eaton, Rizzo was asked directly what effect it would have on Turner and Espinosa.
“Does this mean Trea Turner is now your shortstop?” a reporter wondered. “And if so, where does that leave Danny Espinosa?”
“Well, it leaves us with a lot of options,” Rizzo said. “We have positional flexibility, or we continue to have positional flexibility and we will make those decisions down the road as we see fit.”
According to multiple reports tonight the Nationals made a decision sooner rather than later and dealt Espinosa to the Los Angeles Angels:
Jon Heyman has since confirmed that the trade is complete though no word on what the Nationals are receiving in return thus far:
Danny espinosa traded to angels, confirmed— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 11, 2016
The Nationals have since confirmed the trade, reporting the following on Twitter:
Espinosa, 29, put up a .209/.306/.378 line with 15 doubles and 24 home runs in 157 games and 601 plate appearances this season, over which he was worth 1.7 fWAR.
Adams, 25, put up a 3.75 ERA in 166 minor league appearances and stuck out 11+ batters per nine in 218 1⁄3 minor league innings pitched.
McGowin, also 25, was ranked the 20th best prospect in the Angels’ system by MLB.com.
More info when it’s available...