By Mark Paulette
Author’s note: this piece is not directed towards all who read it.
A few weeks ago, I begged Boston sports fans to be thankful for what we have experienced over the past decade-plus and the successes we continue to enjoy. I thought I may have gone a little overboard in my labeling some of the New England faithful with words like: whiny, crabby and spoiled…yet it appears I didn’t dig deep enough into the thesaurus.
On Tuesday afternoon, Dave Dombrowski pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal, the likes of which are usually seen only in video games and the realm of fantasy sports. The dimple-chinned silver fox that is the President of Baseball Operations for the [Red] Sox, acquired ace, Chris Sale, from the [White] Sox, in exchange for no Major League talent.
The 27-year-old lefty comes to town with a career earned run average of 3.00 while averaging 226 k’s per year for his career and has finished in the top five of the Cy Young ballot each of the past four season.
Heading to the Windy City, or rather the respective Minor League affiliates of the ChiSox, is Yoan Moncada, baseball’s top prospect. He’s joined by hot-headed fire-baller, Michael Kopech, and two other players you’ve never heard of. (Class A outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, and Class A pitcher Victor Diaz).
So let’s review, Dombrowski was able to get one of the game’s best pitchers who comes cheaper than Clay Buchholz and in doing so establishes Boston’s rotation as the best in the American League and arguably second to none in all of baseball. He kept Andrew Benintendi. He kept Jackie Bradley Jr. He kept Eduardo Rodriguez. He kept all Major League pieces once thought to be necessities in such a deal. And some in the nation want to crucify him for doing so?
Yes, I understand, Moncada has untold potential. But I’ve been known to be a betting man, and if you’re laying down the odds of Moncada: making an All Star team each of his first five seasons and finishing in the top-6 of MVP voting each year, I’m going to bet against that every time. (Chris Sale is 5-for-5 in ASG appearances as a starting pitcher, as well as finishing top-6 in Cy Young voting). Michael Kopech has dazzled with his blistering fastball at the minor league level. You know who else did that? Daniel Bard. I’ll stop there as to not further infuriate any of my co-workers.
This has the chance to be the most impactful trade in Red Sox history, as Sale can very realistically help spark a championship run beginning April 3rd, and that’s just not something Moncada, Kopech, or anyone else could offer in 2017.
So I apologize to you, Dave Dombrowski, on behalf of 50% of ‘The Drive’ team and many more curmudgeonly folks throughout Red Sox Nation. If Danny Ainge swapped a top pick for Blake Griffin, would we react this way? If Bill Belichick shipped off Jimmy G for Julio Jones, would we lament the deal? (Actually, that may not be the best example. I can think of a few who would cry, should that trade take place).
Either way, for those who would rather believe the Red Sox just traded away the next Mickey Mantle or Nolan Ryan, I’m positively jolly with the fact Boston traded zero major league talent for the Chris Sale.
Introducing the (second) newest member of the Boston Red Sox, Christopher ‘The Condor’ Sale:
- He’s pretty decent: 70-47 on White Sox teams which have gone a combined 375-435 since 2012.
- Career bests: Matched a career-high with 17 wins in ’16. Posted a 2.17 ERA in ’14 and fanned 274 batters in ’15.
- Contract situation: Set to make $12 million in 2017, followed by club options for $13mil in ’18 and $13.5mil in ’19.
- Mark Paulette Stat of the Day: Since pitching mound was moved to 60’6” in 1893, Sale has the best career strikeout-to-walk ratio of any pitcher with at least 1,000 innings pitched:
- Chris Sale: 4.78
- Curt Schilling: 4.38
- Madison Bumgarner: 4.29
- Pedro Martinez: 4.15
- Mariano Rivera: 4.10
– Edward Scissorhands: Was suspended for a start in ’16 after carving up the White Sox throwback unis which the team was scheduled to wear on a day in which Sale was pitching. Note to John Farrell, keep throwbacks out of clubhouse or at least keep scissors out of the reach of Sale. (Which may be tough, as he measures in at 6’6”).