Posted on November 21, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
If the Chicago White Sox make Chris Sale available via trade, and it’s increasingly likely that they will, he will be the most sought after player on the trade market this offseason. Not only is Sale is one of the best pitchers in the game, but he also has a team-friendly contract that will pay him a mere $38 million over the next three years. During a potential fire sale, the White Sox will have several suitors for Sale. Let’s break down the chances of every team with a known interest in Sale actually landing the southpaw.
Astros – 12%
Houston has been busy this offseason, but the Astros may have one or two big moves left in them. The Astros appear to lack a true ace unless Dallas Keuchel can return to his 2015 form, and they also have some intriguing pieces to trade. Alex Bregman and Yulieski Gurriel are part of Houston’s young core, but losing one of them may be worth it to get Sale. A.J. Reed and Teoscar Hernandez are a couple of promising hitters on the verge of the majors, and the Astros have a few intriguing prospects a few years away, including outfielder Kyle Tucker. If the Astros are willing to part with a member of their young core, they have a shot at getting Sale.
Braves – 18%
The Braves are a team to watch closely in the Sales sweepstakes. They have arguably the best farm system in baseball, and so if they wanted to, they could outbid just about any team. Either Dansby Swanson or Ozzie Albies would have to be involved, and obviously Atlanta believes those two will make up their middle infield of the future, but either could be the foundation for a trade that sends Sales to the Braves.
Cubs – 4%
Staying in Chicago would be an interesting move for Sale. The Cubs don’t need an ace, but they’ll kick the tires on him nonetheless, knowing John Lackey and Jake Arrieta could be gone after 2017. Remember, Javier Baez doesn’t have a set position with the Cubs unless Ben Zobrist makes a permanent move to the outfield, so he could become the centerpiece of a trade package.
Dodgers – 12%
Los Angeles is always in the mix for big-name players like Sale, and there have already been rumors linking them to a trade involving both Sale and Todd Frazier. Pitchers like Julio Urias and Jose De Leon could go a long way towards completing a deal, while Yasiel Puig could be an interesting x-factor in negotiations.
Nationals – 10%
Washington GM Mike Rizzo has already mentioned that he’s looking for starting pitching this winter. Between Lucas Giolitto, Joe Ross, Reynaldo Lopez, and a few others, the Nationals could offer the White sox a handsome bounty of young pitchers if they wanted to make a trade for Sale happen. Sale fronting a rotation alongside Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg would be awfully scary.
Pirates – 2%
Sale’s team-friendly contract makes him affordable for a team like the Pirates. Pittsburgh may also be willing to trade Andrew McCutchen this offseason, which would add an interesting element and could possibly draw a third team into a trade that sends Sale to the Pirates.
Rangers – 8%
The Rangers need more pitching, as we saw in the postseason, and Texas has also shown a willingness to be aggressive in trades, so that could mean going after Sale in a meaningful way. Even though the Rangers don’t have as strong of a farm system as they did a year ago, Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, and Jurickson Profar are all potential trade chips that could become the focal point of a trade.
Red Sox – 12%
The Red Sox wouldn’t mind another frontline starter, especially considering David Price’s struggles in the postseason. The Red Sox have some serious prospects like Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, and Andrew Benintendi who could be quite appealing in a trade. If Jackie Bradley Jr. or Mookie Betts were involved, the Red Sex could definitely get a deal done for Sale.
Yankees – 12%
The Yankees are loaded with prospects after their fire sale last summer, and it’s fully expected that some of those prospects will be used to make a trade for a big-time player like Sale. The Yankees are eyeing a big move this winter, so don’t count out Brian Cashman being able to pull off something huge.
Mystery Team – 5%
There’s always the chance of a mystery team coming out of nowhere and making a serious move for Sale. However, there are only a few teams outside of the ones listed above that have the prospects necessary to make a legitimate offer for Sale.
Not Traded – 5%
It’s becoming less and less likely that Sale will be with the White Sox in 2017, but Chicago hasn’t yet committed to a rebuilding project, so as of right now, there’s still a chance the White Sox will choose to keep him around.