For the second offseason in a row the Boston Red Sox have made a major splash by acquiring an elite, left-handed starting pitcher. While it came in the form of David Price and his 7-year/$217 million contract last season (much to the chagrin of Blue Jays fans and anyone that values a dollar), the Red Sox hit the trade market on Tuesday to fill out their starting rotation with Chris Sale.
Over the course of the year we’ve heard many things about Chris Sale – his availability on the open market (trade market, that is – sorry ladies), that the White Sox asking price was for their star pitcher was steep, and of course a harrowing tale of Sale entering the White Sox dressing room with a knife on July 23 and not leaving until all jerseys looked like someone had just gone super saiyan in them.
To Sale’s credit, those throwback jerseys – complete with collars – made Beetlejuice look like a Hugo Boss model. To the White Sox credit, waiting proved to be fruitful as they received a hefty package in exchange for Sale in what is the first brick in their rebuild.
To Red Sox:
LHP Chris Sale
To White Sox:
2B/3B Yoan Moncada (#1 ranked prospect in baseball according to mlb.com)
RHP Michael Kopech (#30 ranked prospect in baseball according to mlb.com)
OF Luis Alexander Basabe
RHP Victor Diaz
Right off the bat this move gives Boston one of the strongest rotations in the American League, if not in all of baseball with Sale, Price and 2016 Cy Young Winner Rick Porcello as their 1-2-3 punch. The CY Young Award could very well return to Boston next season. Coupled with the likes of Pomeranz, Rodriguez and Buchholz, the Red Sox have great starting pitching depth for the upcoming season…or more trade pieces for the rest of the offseason!
While the package they gave up was anything but a ‘Sale,’ the left-hander brings a very club-friendly contract with him. The 27-year old is due just $38 million over the next 3 years, through his age 30 season. To put that in perspective, LHP Rich Hill – 9 years older and no where near as dominant as Sale – just re-signed with the Dodgers for 3 years and $48 million. Young, controllable, impact arms command a high price on the trade market, and that’s what we saw on Tuesday.
As for the White Sox, Moncada brings elite power and speed at second base, making him a home run and stolen base threat at the top of their lineup for years to come. Though he struggled in his brief stint with the Red Sox in September, the 21-year old looks poised for a lengthy MLB career and is a big piece that Chicago can build around.
In case you were wondering: Boston is also picking up the remainder of Moncada’s massive $31.5 million signing bonus that he inked back in March 2015. Let’s be honest, it’s not like the Red Sox don’t have some ‘financial flexibility.’
The White Sox are also getting an elite young arm with Michael Kopech. Though he hasn’t yet thrown a pitch in the MLB, he routinely hits triple digits on the radar gun so I’m sure he’ll be right at home when the time comes. Kopech sits at 6’3 and 205 lbs, just what scouts and general managers alike look for in dominant starting pitchers. While he has some seasoning ahead of him, there’s no doubt the 20-year old has huge upside for a Chicago squad looking to build for the future.
Throw in Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz and the White Sox have themselves a very nice return for Sale. Couple that with young shortstop Tim Anderson, and Chicago has legitimate cause to be optimistic about the future…after they are terrible for the next couple of years.
As is often the case with blockbuster trades we won’t get a sense of who really ‘won’ this deal for several years. The Red Sox are in a win now mentality, and certainly helped their chances to do so by grabbing one of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball. The White Sox meanwhile are putting together a nice crop of young, athletic, controllable players that should help them get to the promised land a few years down the road.
For now, Chicagoans can bask in the glory of the Cubs and Blackhawks…but definitely not the Bears.
PShields, out and about.