The hot stove is on fire right now, as the Winter Meetings are just getting started, but there's already a blockbuster that will be going down. The Boston Red Sox are acquiring left-handed ace Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for prospects Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and two other prospects, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports tweets that outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and right-handed pitcher Victor Diaz also head to Chicago.
The 27-year-old Sale is under contract through the 2019 season and only due to make $38 million ($12.6 million AAV). Over the past year, Sale has been at the front of controversial situations in the White Sox' clubhouse, including the Adam LaRoche incident with Kenny Williams and the uniform incident just before the non-waiver trade deadline. However, the price for him remained high and he is finally moving on from the AL Central's embattled franchise.
Sale joins an already star-studded staff that sports the likes of two AL Cy Young award winners — David Price and Rick Porcello — at the top of it. With the addition of Sale, Boston's starting rotation becomes one of the better ones in baseball and the become instant favorites to win the AL pennant.
In 226 and 2/3 innings pitched last season, Sale posted a 17-10 record, along with a 3.34 ERA, 3.46 FIP and a 120 ERA+, over 32 starts. He also recorded 233 strikeouts (9.3 K/9) and a 4.9 bWAR en route to be named an American League All-Star and finishing fifth in AL Cy Young award voting and 16th in AL MVP award voting.
The trade of Chris Sale officially signals the beginning to Chicago's rebuilding process. This move could signal to move trades, including Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton, David Robertson and Todd Frazier. All of those players, including Sale, are set to be free agents before the 2020 season.
The 21-year-old Moncada is the best prospect in not only the Red Sox' organization, but in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. He made a brief eight-game stint with the major-league club in September, but struggled to a .211/.250/.263 slash line over 20 plate appearances, including 12 strikeouts. In 106 minor-league games at High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, he hit .294/.407/.511 with 15 home runs and 62 runs batted in.
The 20-year-old Kopech, the fifth-best prospect in Boston's farm system and the 67th-best prospect in all of baseball, sports one of the hardest fastballs in the game which can surpass 100 MPH. In 56 and 1/3 innings pitched at Short-Season Lowell and High-A Salem, he had a 4-1 record, along with a 2.08 ERA and 86 strikeouts, over 12 starts.
The 20-year-old Basabe, the eighth-best prospect in the Red Sox' system, played in 110 games for Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem last season. He slashed .264/.328/.452 over 474 plate appearances, along with 12 home runs, 26 doubles, nine triples and 53 runs batted in. Basabe is also a speed threat on the bases, as he swept 25 bags on 30 attempts in 2016.
The 22-year-old Diaz, the 28th-ranked Red Sox' prospect, pitched in 37 games in relief last season for Low-A Greenville. He hurled 60 and 1/3 innings, posting a 3.88 ERA, while striking out 63 batters and picking up 10 saves.null