In what may prove to be the premier trade of this offseason, the Boston Red Sox acquired left-handed starting pitcher Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and other prospects, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2016
Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago gave a little more information:
Hearing not final just yet but Moncada and Kopech would be part of it. #WhiteSox
— Dan Hayes (@CSNHayes) December 6, 2016
Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that 20-year-old Luis Alexander Basabe is one of the other prospects going to Chicago.
Luis Alexander Basabe is a player going to the #WhiteSox in this trade, I’ve heard.
— Robert Murray (@RobertMurrayFRS) December 6, 2016
The 27-year-old Sale has been one of baseball’s most spectacular pitchers over the last handful of seasons, but he was often denied the praise he deserves because he has been performing at such a high level as a member of the White Sox, who haven’t won a postseason series since 2005, the year before the club drafted Sale in the opening round of the 2006 draft.
Sale, an All-Star every year since becoming a full-time starter in 2012, went 17-10 with a 3.34 earned run average over his 32 starts with the White Sox this year. Sale logged a career-high 226.2 innings pitched in 2016 and held his opposition to a collective .227 batting average, the fifth-best mark in the American League this year and lowest against the southpaw since 2014.
Moncada, 21, made his major-league debut with the Red Sox in 2016, playing eight games in a September cup of coffee for the team. The 6-foot-2 infielder was Boston’s top prospect and is a consensus top-10 prospect in all of baseball. Since signing with the Red Sox out of Cuba in 2015, he has hit .287/.395/.480 in 187 minor-league games. He has also stolen 94 bases and been caught just 15 times.
Kopech was drafted by the Red Sox in the first round in 2014 and has lit up minor-league radar guns ever since. He spent most of the 2016 season in High-A, going 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 11 starts for Salem. The 20-year-old has a fastball that hits 100 MPH and was one of the top prospects in the Red Sox system.
The White Sox act of parting ways with Sale all but declares that the club does not expect to contend for a postseason spot in 2017, making the American League Central division even more backloaded, considering the current state of the Minnesota Twins and reported willingness of the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers to both deal some of their key players.
For the Red Sox, the acquisition of Sale brings reinforcements to a starting pitching staff that has had its ups and downs over the past two seasons. Reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, last year’s free-agent signee David Price, and Sale will make up a formidable top of the Boston rotation.