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Storylines: Boston Red Sox complete blockbuster trade for Chris Sale

The Boston Red Sox swooped in and completed a stunning trade for Chris Sale on Tuesday. That and all the other news and notes from the winter meetings...

Top Storylines:

- After months of speculation and waiting, Chicago White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn finally pulled the trigger sending left-handed ace Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for prospects Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz.  It’s a pretty good haul as every prospect the White Sox received was ranked in the Red Sox’s MLB Top 30 Prospects list.  During his tenure with the White Sox, Sale compiled a 74-50 record and 3.00 ERA across 11110.0 innings pitched and a sizzling 10.1 SO/9 average.  It appeared the White Sox were close to dealing Sale to the Washington Nationals as of Monday night but the Red Sox were never far behind and were able to offer the White Sox a deal they couldn’t refuse and in return are rewarded with one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game.  The White Sox ended up getting a little less than they originally asked the Red Sox for as they had their sights set on outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. but still did well in the deal.  The Red Sox are now entering the 2017 season with a front-line rotation boasting of David Price, Sale and Rick Porcello.  The Red Sox did not come out of the deal without giving up a lot as Moncada is one of the best overall prospects in the game of baseball as he has plus-hitting tools and superb baserunning skills.  Kopech has one of the best live arms in the minors as he is capable of throwing 100 MPH with excellent command.  Basabe possesses great hitting tools and is also a running threat on the bases while Diaz also throws high heat and has the makings of a dominant reliever.

Indians News:

- The Cleveland Indians are continuing to show interest in slugger Edwin Encarnacion but there is currently no traction towards a deal per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. Encarnacion is still taking the patient approach to waiting out the market and right now nothing is close between him and the Indians.

- The Indians are also talking to right-handed sluggers Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo and Mike Napoli per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.  Both Bautista and Trumbo are tied to draft-pick compensation so the Indians would lose their first rounder but resigning Napoli would not result in the forfeit of their first round pick.  The Indians clearly are prioritizing a need for a right-handed power bat in their lineup.  The question seems to be which one of Encarnacion, Trumbo, Bautista and Napoli will they be able to sign to fill that spot.

Other Storylines:

- The Red Sox made an earlier trade in the morning before the Sale blockbuster acquiring right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for third baseman Travis Shaw and minor leaguers Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington per Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald.  The Red Sox were reportedly seeking a set-up man to help pave the way for closer Craig Kimbrel to close games out in 2017 and Thornburg is apparently the answer.  The righty threw 67.0 innings of 2.15 ERA relief along with a staggering 12.1 SO/9 ratio as he mowed down 90 batters in his best year as a reliever.  

- The Red Sox capped off Tuesday by signing free agent first baseman Mitch Moreland to a one-year, $5.5MM deal per Ken Rosenthal.  The Red Sox were looking for a left-handed bat to take over the void left by retired slugger David Ortiz.  He’ll have big shoes to fill but is going to be hitting in a rather deep Red Sox lineup and will offer plus defense at first base as he won his first Gold Glove just a few months ago for his defensive work at first in 2016.

- After missing out on a Chris Sale deal, the Nationals are focusing their attention back towards an Andrew McCutchen trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates per Heyman.  Talks have stalled between the two sides but things are not dead yet as they continue to have dialogue.

- The Kansas City Royals are nearing two trades as of Tuesday evening.  One deal has them shipping outfielder Jarrod Dyson to the Oakland Athletics per Joel Sherman of the New York Post and they also are nearing a deal to send Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for outfielder Jorge Soler per Rosenthal.  There will probably be more involved in the Cubs package to get Davis but Soler seems to be the centerpiece.

- The Tampa Bay Rays have inked catcher Wilson Ramos to a two-year, $12.5MM deal with incentives to increase it up to $18.25 per Sherman.  Ramos was expected to command a huge deal in the offseason but a tragic injury at the end of the regular season which tore his ACL held back his market considerably.  To be able to get a multi-year deal is still an impressive feat and should make things easier for him to come back fully recovered now that he’s playing in the American League which has the designated hitter’s spot.

- The Arizona Diamondbacks are nearing a deal with right-handed reliever Fernando Rodney per Heyman.  Rodney signed with the San Diego Padres last offseason and was dealt to the Miami Marlins in a midseason deal.  He was brilliant with the Padres but struggled mightily with the Marlins thus causing them to decline his 2017 option.

- The markets for top relievers Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman are beginning to take shape.  Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria has signed off on spending big money to nab one of the two per Jayson Stark of ESPN.  Chapman allegedly already has an offer worth about $92MM per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  It is not clear which team made the offer but both relievers look primed to cash in on a big payday.

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