Whatever animosity Danny Espinosa harbored toward the Nationals on Saturday afternoon appears to have dissipated, as the club completed a trade that sent the infielder to the Angels for minor league right-handers Austin Adams and Kyle McGowin on Saturday evening.
The Nationals traded for outfielder Adam Eaton last Wednesday, a move which effectively booted Trea Turner from the outfield to the infield and eliminated Espinosa’s full-time responsibilities at short. Espinosa was understandably upset by the change, going so far as to skip the team’s annual Winterfest on Saturday in what appeared to be a protest of his diminishing role on the roster.
With the Angels, however, the 29-year-old is back to a full-time position as the club’s second baseman, supplanting the Cliff Pennington–Johnny Giavotella platoon they rolled with in 2016. While he doesn’t bring much to the plate — Espinosa slashed .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 2016, while the Angels’ second basemen combined for a .237/.275/.342 line with 12 homers — his defensive chops make him a clear upgrade.
The Nationals, meanwhile, gained some depth in their farm system with minor league right-hander Kyle McGowin, ranked 20th among the Angels’ 2016 prospects on MLBPipeline.com (per MLB.com’s Manny Randhawa). McGowin, 25, made the jump from Double-A Arkansas to Triple-A Salt Lake in 2016, putting up a cumulative 5.83 ERA and 8.2 K/9 in 142 innings. The club’s other acquisition, 25-year-old reliever Austin Adams, found an easier path through Double-A Arkansas, posting a 3.05 ERA and career-best 12.8 K/9 rate in just 44 1/3 innings.