Nats trade Espinosa to Angels for pitching prospects

Turner likely to take over at SS after Eaton acquisition

Nats trade Espinosa to Angels for pitching prospects

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have traded shortstop Danny Espinosa to the Angels for right-handers Kyle McGowin and Austin Adams, the team announced Saturday night.

Espinosa spent the past season as the Nationals' starting shortstop, his first opportunity to start the season at that position since he was drafted by the organization in the third round in 2008. He played strong defense at shortstop and hit 24 home runs, but he struggled at the plate overall, batting .209/.306/.378 with an OPS+ of 81 and a strikeout rate of 29 percent.

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Once Washington acquired Adam Eaton this past week, moving Espinosa seemed inevitable.

Eaton coming in to play center field would allow Trea Turner to return to his natural position at shortstop and would have left Espinosa without a starting role on the team. Espinosa was reportedly unhappy with that situation and unwilling to accept being a utility infielder.

Eaton on playing center field

He was not scheduled to appear at this weekend's Nationals WinterFest and, according to the Washington Post, it was because he was unhappy with his role on the team. Now this trade ended his seven-year tenure in Washington and will allow Espinosa -- who lives in Orange County and went to Long Beach State University -- to live closer to home. He will likely play second base for the Angels and form a strong middle infield with Andrelton Simmons.

In return, the Nationals received two pitching prospects. McGowin,25, was the Angels' No.20 prospect, as rated by MLBPipeline.com, and posted a 5.83 ERA in 27 starts between Double-A and Triple-A last season.

Adams, also 25, had been added to the Angels' 40-man roster last month. An eighth-round pick of the 2012 Draft, Adams appeared in 34 games in the Arizona Fall League and with Double-A Arkansas, posting a 3.05 ERA.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.