Nationals acquire: LHP Chris Sale
Why it works for Washington:
Whether GM Mike Rizzo would like to admit it or not, the once ‘dominant’ Nationals’ rotation is looking sort of thin after the departure of Jordan Zimmermann. Washington of course has ace Max Scherzer, but can they really rely on the inconsistent, injury-prone Stephen Strasburg to be the number two starter for a ‘win now’ ball club? Washington has a ton invested in this ball club right now, with the window to winning closing. Also looking towards the future, Gio Gonzales will be another year older, Strasburg may gone after 2016, which leaves the rotation in rough shape even with the emergence of Joe Ross and Lucas Giolito. Chris Sale–one of the best pitchers in baseball and under control at a team-friendly, $32-million total until 2019–has proven his dominance, and would join forces with Scherzer to become possibly the best one-two rotation punch in baseball, and would certainly compete of what their NL East rivals New York Mets have. They are giving up a lot in two top pitching prospects and Michael Taylor, but gaining a top pitcher like Chris Sale at such a financial discount–especially in today’s starters market–is worth so much, and would make Washington a title contender again.
Why it makes sense for Chicago:
The White Sox can’t just continue to sit in mediocrity, winning 80 games a season, and it’s time to slightly begin a rebuild. This would be a huge step. It will be tough to deal Sale, who is cheap, and one of the best pitchers in baseball, but the return here is worth it. Chicago gets two top pitching prospects in return, that could potentially be top-of-the-line starters to pair with Jose Quintana for their future, and not to mention the main pieces of the deal: Michael Taylor, and Victor Robles. Taylor is just 24, and has shown flashes to potentially become a superstar. Robles has emerged as a top outfield prospect as well, with the 18-year-old hitting .352/.444/.507 in his first season in the minors. To pair these two in the Chicago lineup–Taylor immediately, and Robles in a couple of years–would be excellent for the White Sox, and be worth it. It won’t be something easy to do, but this Chris Sale deal is certainly the type of return the White Sox could seek in such a deal.