The Boston Red Sox entered the offseason in need of an upgrade to their starting rotation. However, given the weak free agent class and Dave Dombrowski‘s insistence that the club would not make any big moves, it seemed likely they would enter 2017 with a staff that largely resembled the 2016 group. That all went out the window on Tuesday, when the Red Sox shocked the baseball world by acquiring Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports broke the news.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2016
Others prospects coming to #WhiteSox are Luis Basabe and Victor Diaz.
— Dan Hayes (@CSNHayes) December 6, 2016
Boston Red Sox Acquire Chris Sale
Despite reports on Monday that the Washington Nationals were the clear favorites to land Sale, Boston stepped in on Tuesday with an offer Chicago couldn’t refuse. Yoan Moncada was considered by many to be the top prospect in Boston’s farm system. The 21-year-old raked at every level of the minor leagues, and saw a meteoric rise to the majors.
However, he struggled mightily after making his major league debut last season, and seemed like a man without a position. A natural second baseman, he was blocked by veteran Dustin Pedroia. He could have transitioned to third base, but the success of such a move would hardly have been guaranteed. Moncada still has all the tools to be great, and should anchor the White Sox lineup down the road.
Michael Kopech ranked as the top pitcher in the Red Sox system. The young fireballer can hit triple digits on the radar gun. Though he still needs to refine his control, he showed a great deal of improvement as the minor league season wore on. The 20-year-old spent 2016 in between Low-A Lowell and High-A Salem, and went 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA.
The Red Sox will also send Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz in exchange for Sale, who is perhaps the best pitcher in the American League. Last season, Sale won 17 games while pitching to a 3.34 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP, and 233 strikeouts. For his career, he owns a 3.00 ERA and 1,244 punchouts.
Still just 27 years old, Sale has thus far only pitched for Chicago in his six years of MLB service. He represents a clear upgrade to Boston’s rotation; a 1-2-3 of Sale, Rick Porcello, and David Price looks deadly on paper. If he works out, this could be a coup for Boston, as Sale remains under team control at a very reasonable salary (his contract is worth an average annual value of just $6.5 million) through the 2019 season.