One of the early storylines of the Winter Meetings thus far has been the Chicago White Sox and their willingness to listen to any player on their roster. While that hardly means that every player is absolutely available, it does open up some intrigue in the way of a potential Chris Sale trade.
Sale’s name popped up at the trade deadline, but the White Sox elected to hold onto their ace. While that figures to be the same case here, and they could simply be fielding offers simply to see if they can get a team to sell the farm for him, it is a very interesting situation, and one that has a few different levels.
There is a very simple argument to be made over whether or not the White Sox should trade Chris Sale. They currently have one of the worst, if not the very bottom, farm systems in all of baseball. While Sale is young and under contract through 2017, trading him is the type of move that would significantly replenish their bare farm system, particularly in potentially netting them a blue-chip prospect.
While there are questions over whether or not Sale’s North Side counterparter Jeff Samardzija is a true ace, there are no such questions in regard to Sale. His 2013 season was perhaps his best yet, as he posted a 3.07 ERA and a 2.95 xFIP, while walking a career low 1.93 hitters per nine. There are concerns over his violent delivery, but he hasn’t had any health issues at the big league level to date.
There’s no doubt that Sale’s name, now that it’s out there, will be a big one floating around the Winter Meetings. However, this doesn’t seem like a case where the White Sox are necessarily shopping him. This is more getting his name out there and fielding offers, just to see what the market is like for him. If he were available, he’s probably the no. 1 arm available, when taking everything into account, including the dollars involved. He’s currently on a five-year deal that will pay him just over $32 million. That’s fantastic value.
At the end of the day, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see Chris Sale dealt. However, his presence is extremely intriguing, and given the potential he has to help the White Sox in the long term, maybe more than he would in the short term, the Sox would be foolish to not at least look into what such a deal could allow them to acquire.