The Boston Red Sox have completed the biggest move of the Winter Meetings so far, making a splash by landing White Sox ace Chris Sale in a five-player deal Tuesday, as reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Boston will send four players to the White Sox, including shortstop prospect Yoan Moncada. The 21 year-old Cuban minor-league infielder is widely regarded as one of the top prospects in baseball.
Rosenthal’s report also confirmed the Red Sox will also send pitching prospect Michael Kopech, ranked as the team’s fifth-best prospect by MLB.com, as part of the package. Prospects Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz are also being shipped to Chicago, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
Sale remains under team control through 2019, as the team-friendly five-year deal Sale signed with the White Sox prior to the 2013 season includes team options for both 2018 and 2019. The White Sox went 78-84 last season as they continued their efforts to build around a lineup featuring the likes of Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier, and Adam Eaton, and young pitchers like Jose Quintana and Carson Fulmer.
Sale has consistently been one of the best pitchers baseball over the past five seasons. He made five consecutive All-Star teams and ranking in the top five among all qualified starters in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts. The 27-year-old went 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA and 233 strikeouts in 226 2⁄3 innings in 2016.
By acquiring Sale, Boston adds another essential piece as it seeks to exceed their 2016 result of a loss in the AL Division Series. Sale will headline a rotation that already features 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and former Cy Young winner David Price.
Boston won 93 games last season. The addition of Sale, plus the blossoming of several of the young hitters in their lineup — including Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Andrew Benintendi — should allow the Red Sox to contend for a World Series in 2017.