Chris Sale: I Asked, Baseball Answered

I typically share this kind of thing on Twitter because it works well in several quick hits, but I saw the tweets Friday noting the asking price for Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale and thought I’d ask for the thoughts of some of those working in front offices.

Here’s what I got from one GM, two assistant general managers and one special assistant.

Do You Believe Chris Sale Will Be Moved This Offseason?

 1: If I had to bet, no, I think (Jose) Quintana is more likely.
2: It’s really never more likely than not, so I’d say no. But their interest in what they can get for him is real. There’s a chance.
3: Probably not. 50-50 at best. They’re asking for a lot more than most teams can consider parting with. We certainly can’t get involved as much as we think a pitcher like that would help us in a big way.
4. I really think they do end up dealing him. They’re motivted just enough it seems. We’re not going down that road, but they’re looking to do what the Yankees did (bring in a few hauls and retool fast).

Okay, then … what’s it going to take?

4: Take those Yankees hauls and double them … that’s what they are asking for. It’s Chris Sale. He’s worth a lot more than a half season of Aroldis Chapman. … Yes, I think they get that kind of package in return if they deal him. But that’s why the chances are low, I think.
3: If you’re the Sox don’t you make sure you get a much better deal than the Rays got (Willy Adames, Drew Smyly) for David Price? I think it starts with most teams’ very best young player, whether that’s a young major leaguer or a prospect.
2: Between you and me, if I am Texas and they (White Sox) ask for (Yohander) Mendez, (Leody() Taveras and (Joey) Gallo, can you say no? If you’re Chicago, can you accept less? It’ll take four guys, two 55s and at least one 60.
1: I’ll put this in Seattle terms; Paxton Zunino and O’Neill may not be enough. The Sox are looking to rob someone of about 30 years of talent. They aren’t trying to trade Sale. They’re not that mad at him.

Which clubs should be all-in?

1: Houston can win it all with Sale in that rotation. St. Louis, L.A. Dodgers, Boston. If I am the Red Sox I’m aggressive here, even if it costs me (Jackie) Bradley or (Andrew) Benetendi and even (Blake) Swihart. They alsop have guys like Rafael Devers and (Michael) Kopech. I imagine they’re wanting Yoan Moncada to be part of their immediate future, but his name gets the Sox in the door in a hurry.
2: Other than Texas? Toronto, Detroit, Houston is ready. How else does St. Louis hang around (with the Cubs in NL Central)?
3: I don’t think any club should go all-out for Sale. There are other options. Work the system, see what happens.
4: The White Sox. Are they so far out of contention that 3-4 smart moves and they are next year’s Cleveland?

After some back and forths, I came to several ‘conclusions’ based on the responses.

1. If Sale is moved it will cost the acquiring club more than it cost Detroit to acquire Price and more than Chapman or Andrew Miller cost last summer.
2. The belief is the White Sox’s asking price will come down, but not all that significantly because they have time to figure out their future with and/or without Sale.
3. More teams can afford Quintana which might make him the first to go.
4. Chicago has had a lot of conversations about Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton, too, despite all the talk being about Sale.
4. The Dodgers, Astros and Red Sox have been the most aggressive on the trade market for starting pitching.
5. Clubs don’t love Sam Travis enough to part with two or more years of a No. 3 or better starter for a package centered around the first base prospect.
6. The Mariners’ best chance at landing a starting pitcher better than a No. 4 is to make multiple deals to acquire more inventory that gets them in the conversations for such starters, perhaps including deals for Nelson Cruz and Leonys Martin. “They’re probably two mid-to-high level talents shy,” said the GM. But that’s just me.”

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Jason A. Churchill

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