MLB Trade Rumors: Red Sox pushing hard for Chris Sale


Reports indicate that the Boston Red Sox are making one last attempt to pry Chris Sale away from the Chicago White Sox.

Say this for Dave Dombrowski, he’s certainly doing his due diligence as we approach the trade deadline.

Time is running out for the Boston Red Sox to make the big move many are hoping will put them over the top in a tight division race, but falling short won’t be from lack of trying. Dombrowski is working the phones late into the night in hopes of coming to a last minute agreement.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Red Sox are pushing harder than anyone to acquire ace starter Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox.

That sentiment was echoed by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, who reports that Boston had late night talks with Chicago. He believes that if Sale is going anywhere, the likely destinations are the Red Sox or Dodgers.

Sale is far and away the best starting pitcher that is potentially available in a thin trade market. The American League starter in this year’s All-Star Game has gone 14-4 with a 3.17 ERA. Much has been made of his decline in strikeout rate, but his 8.6 K/9 still puts him among the top dozen pitchers in the league. The drop in strikeouts is also partially by design, as he’s attempting to pitch to contact more in order to preserve his pitch counts and go deeper into games. He’s not avoiding quite as many bats these days, yet the number of hits he allows per nine innings has been a tick below his career average, so clearly the strategy is working.

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The five-time All-Star would be an upgrade to any rotation, which is why a Red Sox team that is going all in to win in David Ortiz‘s farewell season has been heavily tied to any rumors involving the White Sox ace.

Likewise, Chicago has had their eye on Boston’s farm system, most recently having scouted their Double-A team in Portland. It’s no coincidence that the Sale to Boston rumors are heating up at a time that the White Sox happen to be watching the minor league team where top prospects Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi currently reside.

Is it worth it to give up one of those stud prospects for Sale? The Red Sox already have a formidable front three in their rotation with David Price, Steven Wright and Rick Porcello. None of them are going anywhere. Which means that acquiring Sale would mean bumping one of the other two starters from the rotation.

Boston already gave up top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza to acquire Drew Pomeranz, so unless he’s a chip included in the package going to Chicago for Sale then he’s clearly staying in the rotation.

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Which means it has to be Eduardo Rodriguez that loses his spot. E-Rod has shaken off a slow start hindered by injury and mechanical flaws to produce three solid starts since returning to the rotation. Is Sale a better pitcher right now? Absolutely, there’s no question that he improves Boston’s chances of winning in the short term. But is he enough of an improvement over Rodriguez to give up multiple top prospects? Not to mention that bumping Rodriguez from the rotation would further impede the development of the 23-year old, who still has a high ceiling despite this year’s setbacks.

There are still many that remain skeptical that the Red Sox get a deal done before the deadline, with one source telling Rosenthal, “Don’t waste your time,” when it comes to pursuing the possibility.

Perhaps it’s Dombrowski that is wasting his time talking to a White Sox organization that seems to have no intention of backing off of their ludicrous demands. Chicago has every right to ask for the moon, as they aren’t in a position where they have to trade Sale, who is locked up through next season with a pair of bargain team options tacked on at the end.

No matter how badly the Red Sox want Sale in their rotation, a deal before the deadline appears unlikely. Parting with Moncada or Benintendi would be a tough pill to swallow. Chicago will probably demand both, which should prompt Dombrowski to hang up the phone. Hopefully Dombrowski doesn’t pull the trigger out of desperation, or we may one day add this to the list of poor deadline decisions that this franchise has made over the years.

Next: Deal with Yankees a possibility?

Perhaps the Red Sox are merely laying the groundwork for a deal they intend to revisit in the offseason, when the pressure of the deadline isn’t there to inflate the price. If Sale is to be traded then the Red Sox remain one of the strongest suitors. It just may not happen this year.