I am Kenny Williams. I am approaching the Winter Meetings with an open mind. Here's the first thought that comes into my head:
Hey, you're not the GM anymore. Some dude named Rick Hahn is.
Okay, I am Rick Hahn. I am approaching the Winter Meetings with an open mind. Here's the first thought that comes into my head:
I have one of the most valuable commodities in baseball. Let's see what people will offer for it.
Makes sense. If you have a T206, you check in with the auction houses. If you have the cure for weaponized smallpox, you listen to what the whiny governments of the world are offering. And if you have Chris Sale, excellent baseball pitcher locked up for a song through 2019, let's see if you can turn that into two Chris Sales.
There are problems with this. The first is that Chris Sale is a freak, a young ace pitcher locked up for the next six years for less than Ricky Nolasco, and there's no way the White Sox are going to get equal value back. The second problem is there's no way the White Sox are going to get equal value back.
If the White Sox trade Sale for all the prospects they can grab, there's a stray chance those prospects don't work out, you know. There's a spectrum of value, then. That spectrum, roughly described, goes something like this.
There have been recent rumored trades that would have rivaled the Sizemore/Phillips/Lee return the Indians got for Bartolo Colon. The A's wanted to trade Joe Blanton, and they were asking for several prospects. The Dodgers had a bunch of prospects -- Kemp, Kershaw, Ethier -- maybe a couple of them could work out.
It's possible, then, the White Sox could get a Kemp/Kershaw combo if they were to make a deal. Or maybe just a Kershaw to start, with several useful players thrown in. It's not like any of the players the Rangers got for Mark Teixeira was a superstar, but the Rangers got enough to make the trade one of the better moments in franchise history.
Chances of this happening: less than one percent. I've dug through a lot of MLB Trade Rumors archives with the benefit of hindsight in my time. There are a lot of hilarious trade ideas and rumors. But it's rare to have that Joe Nathan/Francisco Liriano combo for a single player.
The single hit
In this scenario, one of the prospects grows up to be Chris Sale or something like him. He's affordable, talented and around for a while.
Except, even in this scenario, the prospect is around for a year or two more than Sale, at best. The White Sox are trading in a winning lottery ticket for several different tickets with similar jackpots. The good news is that one of them might grow up to be Sale. The bad news is that the real Sale would have to go away to a farm, where he could run around with other distractingly thin men and play.
This is an unlikely scenario, remember. In it, the White Sox would give up one of their best players to take a chance that someone else can be just as good, for roughly the same timeframe.
Chances of this happening: decent, about 30 percent. Also, these numbers are clearly pulled from my nether regions, so take them with a grain of strong antibacterial hand wash.
The moderate hit
So instead of the next Chris Sale, the Sox get the next Gavin Floyd. And everyone's like, oh, that's okay. This guy's … okay. Meanwhile, everyone's hating him for not being Sale.
Chances of this happening: about 35 percent.
Brett Wallace and Matt LaPorta aren't specifically involved, but they're involved in spirit. Just a bunch of can't-miss sluggers, lumbering about the White Sox' spring camp, bumping into each other and waving at sliders. Meanwhile Sale is pitching for the Dodgers or Yankees, or some nonsense, looking like one of the better left-handers in baseball.
Chances of this happening: about 33 percent.
The active embarrassment
Somehow, in a circuitous fashion, whether by three-way trade or a trade sequence, Sale ends up on a blood rival. The Cubs, Indians, or Tigers, for example. And all the White Sox can do is watch, the baseball version of John Cusack in Being John Malkovich, endlessly tormented, living an existence of regret.
Chances of this happening: about one percent.
Which means I'll put the odds at something like 99-to-1 that the White Sox don't get a player (or collection of players) as advantageous as Sale is to them at this very second.
This doesn't get into the long-term prognosis of Sale, or if his toothpicks-in-a-coffee-grinder delivery is built for long-term success. I just looked through all sorts of still shots of Sale pitching, and it was gross. Literally hard to look at. Dude's weird.
But this is just a note to point out that if you think Chris Sale is going to continue pitching well, there's just about no way the White Sox are going to get anything close to equal value for him, if only because it's hard to find other teams with equal value to give for a player like Sale already is, under the contract he already has. He's already the ideal, the player teams aspire to get. He's Bryce Harper, just in a slightly different way. But not that different, especially considering the contract.
And I'd be stunned if he went anywhere in the next couple of years.