Three offseasons ago, the Red Sox traded a number of prospects to the White Sox for Chris Sale. This trade was 100% worth it from a Boston standpoint.
Following the recent talk surrounding Red Sox ace Chris Sale‘s ongoing elbow issues, there’s been plenty of debate on social media about whether the trade to land him in Boston in December 2016 was the right decision for this franchise based upon current events.
For this even to be debated by fans, this is pretty insulting to one of the best pitchers you’ll likely see take the mound at the major league level. Sale has proved to be one of the game’s most feared and elite pitchers again and again over the years. The 7-time All-Star was absolutely vital to the 2018 World Series winning campaign that the Sox put together, and without him this likely wouldn’t have panned out the way that it did in the extreme fashion that it did.
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After a huge trade happens like this one, and you win a championship within two seasons, the negatives towards said trade should really never be muttered ever again – but, that’s sports. This certain trade, however, has more levels to it.
The only reason there’s so much talk about it now is the fact that the Red Sox are going through a rebuilding stint so there’s more pressure on the decisions that the franchise has made in recent times. Whatever happens, you can’t factor out 2018 and the fact that Sale has been completely lights out when healthy. Yes, he’s had ongoing issues for some time now – but, saying was it worth it? That is incredibly insulting to a guy who’s put on throwing displays reminiscent of prime Pedro Martinez.
The other reason this talk is coming up is because Yoan Moncada – the headlining prospect of the package that was sent to Chicago – has just signed a big-money extension with the White Sox. Moncada got $70 million which will keep him in Chicago until at least 2024.
Now, the Red Sox have traded their fair share of prospects, which has depleted their farm system to a point where it is now – as one of the weakest in baseball – but the Sale-Moncada deal isn’t one that should be looked at as a cause of this. This trade was one of the key factors in bringing another title to Boston and securing the Red Sox one of the best aces in the game. Injuries come in different packages in all of sports, and unfortunately Sale has had his fair share of these.
The good news for everyone concerned is that Sale won’t need Tommy John surgery – which should allow him to return to the Sox rotation for this coming season. Sale had the worst year of his career last season with a 4.40 ERA. That would be decent for a number of major league pitchers. It’s just that Sale’s caliber is like little other in the game. He gets held in such high regard because of how good he is and people know how good he is as well. He was sixth in Cy Young voting in 2012 and in the top-5 from 2013 through 2018.
One year doesn’t mess that kind of talent up. Injuries can mess with his timetable for return, but Sale’s ability outweighs any injury troubles, and whatever way he comes back he’ll still be an excellent pitcher.
Who knows how good Moncada will turn out to be? He’s obviously going to be a very good MLB player, but trading a possibility of a great player for an established top-of-the-game starter who’s already done enough to make it worth it should never be reconsidered in any sport.