It wasn’t the Boston Red Sox, but instead the Washington Nationals who were supposedly ready to strike at National Harbor, Maryland.
Over the first couple of days of baseball’s 2016 Winter Meetings, the Nats were heavily rumored to be nearing a deal for the top available pitcher on the trade market.
However, rumors began to leak out late this morning that the BoSox had entered the Chris Sale sweepstakes. As the afternoon moved along, the Red Sox apparently had pushed ahead of the Nationals in the race for the big lefty.
Now comes word that Boston has won that race. The Red Sox have acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox.
In exchange, Boston is sending a substantive package of prospects to the South Side of the Windy City.
Headed to the White Sox are Boston’s top overall prospect, Yoan Moncada, as well as their top right-handed pitching prospect, Michael Kopech.
Sale will turn 28 years old as Spring Training 2017 draws to a close. The 6’6″, 180-pound beanpole of a lefty was the White Sox’s first round pick at 13th overall in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft.
After making his debut out of the Chicago bullpen in the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Sale was moved to the rotation permanently in 2012.
Through seven seasons, Sale has a 74-50 record with a 3.00 ERA and 1.065 WHIP. He has allowed 922 hits over 1,110 innings with a 1,244/260 K:BB ratio.
Sale has also made five consecutive AL All-Star teams. He has finished among the top six in the American League Cy Young Award voting in each of those same five seasons.
There is just one more guaranteed season on Sale’s contract at $12 million. However, there are reasonable team options for each of the following two years at $12.5 and $13.5 million, each with a $1 million buyout.
CHISOX GET TOP BOSOX PROSPECT
Moncada signed with the Red Sox out of Cuba for $31.5 million last March. He cost them $63 million total due to a matching penalty for going over their international bonus pool limit.
An infielder thus far, it is hard to say where the 21-year-old Moncada will settle in with Chicago. He could be used as a second baseman, third baseman, or possibly even be shifted to the outfield.
Moncada played in the Carolina and Eastern Leagues this season, hitting for a combined .294/.407/.511 slash line with 15 homers, 31 doubles, 62 RBI, 45 steals, and 94 runs scored.
He received a cup of coffee in the big leagues with Boston as well. In eight September games, Moncada had four hits over 20 plate appearances. He produced a walk, a double, three runs scored, and an RBI.
CHISOX ALSO GET A BIG ARM
The 20-year-old Kopech has a big arm. The #33 overall pick in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft, his fastball sits comfortably in the upper-90s, and has reached into the triple digits.
Kopech does have a bit of a red flag. He was suspended for 50 games back in the 2015 season after testing positive for a banned substance.
This year, Kopech split the season between the New York-Penn and Carolina Leagues. He went 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 12 starts. He allowed just 29 hits over 56.1 innings with an 86/33 K:BB ratio.
Basabe is a 20-year old outfielder who has really come on over the last year. He was an international signing in 2012 out of Venezuela along with his brother.
Basabe has speed and a center field profile, but is also potentially a five-tool talent. He was Boston’s #8 prospect per MLB Pipeline.
Diaz is a 22-year old low-budget signing from 2014 out of the Dominican Republic. With a big fastball, there is much speculation that he could end up as a late innings reliever.