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Angels acquire Danny Espinosa from Nationals

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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 PenningtonJohnny 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.

Joe Maddon: “I have a defensive foot fetish.”

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The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.

Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.

Well then.

The Nationals have scored 62 runs during four Joe Ross starts

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If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.

Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.

Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.

Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.