Adam Eaton is a World Series champion. Just like Chris Sale before him.
Yes, the players the White Sox dealt away on consecutive days during the Winter Meetings in 2016 have won consecutive championships: Sale got the final outs for the Boston Red Sox last October, and Eaton played a sizable role — a .320/.433/.560 slash line with two homers, six RBIs and five runs scored in seven games — in winning the first World Series in Washington Nationals history.
White Sox fans likely won't view those facts as good signs for their favorite club, what with teams reaping the benefits of players the White Sox once employed while the South Siders themselves have lost a total of 284 games since making those trades three years ago.
But it's important to remember that teams don't care about beating the team they traded with. They care about beating their opponents on the field and winning championships. In that sense, yes, the Red Sox and Nationals have "won" the trades. But that doesn't mean the White Sox can't win them, too.
In fact, the states of those trades, from a White Sox perspective, are looking infinitely better than they did a year ago. Rick Hahn's front office hauled in seemingly terrific prospect packages in both those deals, acquiring Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech (among others) for Sale and the pitching trio of Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning for Eaton.
In 2018, Moncada struck out 217 times, Giolito was statistically the worst pitcher in baseball, Kopech made four brief big league starts before having Tommy John surgery, Dunning was battling injuries en route to eventual Tommy John surgery and Lopez — was actually fine and probably the White Sox best big league starting pitcher.
One year later, Moncada has blossomed into the best all-around hitter on the team, Giolito is an All Star and the ace of the staff, Kopech is nearly through his recovery and set to make an impact in 2020, Dunning is similarly making his way through recovery mode and Lopez — was actually frustratingly inconsistent in 2019 to the point of his long-term future in the rotation being a frequent discussion topic.
Moncada, Giolito and Kopech are three of the reasons why the White Sox future looks so bright. And while Kopech has still yet to show what he can do at the major league level, Moncada and Giolito are fresh off sensational seasons that show the hype that accompanied their acquisitions way back when might have been warranted. Dunning and Lopez could similarly play roles for contending teams.
If we're judging the Red Sox and Nationals' championships as "wins" in these specific trades, then the White Sox are certainly able to grab their own "wins" should the players they got in those trades lead to titles. That was obviously the hope for all sides when the trades were made. The Red Sox and Nationals, being in contending modes, were in a much better position to grabs "wins" than the rebuilding White Sox, who were planning for years in the future.
It's also important to think about the alternatives: What would the White Sox have accomplished in keeping Sale and Eaton? The 2016 team they were dealt away from lost 84 games. It's not as if the White Sox were in a position to contend with those two guys on the roster. They might be in that position soon with the guys they got in those trades.
So congratulations to Eaton. But even with two championships in two years for the guys they traded away, it's still way too early to determine how those deals worked out for the White Sox.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.