Earlier today I wrote the following headline: “A Chris Sale trade remains unlikely for Red Sox.”
This is currently happening:
Sources: #RedSox remain strongly in mix for #WhiteSox’s Sale, along with #Nationals.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2016
Multiple sources now saying that #RedSox have built momentum toward a deal with #WhiteSox for Sale.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2016
Exciting, right? Yes. Also terrifying. To quote myself from that article a few hours ago:
I don’t really have a whole lot to add that wasn’t said earlier, other than the following:
There’s only so much value to be had in making a good team a great team. Last season the overwhelming Chicago Cubs won the World Series. They did so by the slimmest of margins over an Indians team that won far fewer games and was hugely depleted by injury. At the end of the day, getting to the dance is the most important aspect, with the playoffs representing more of a crapshoot than anything else.
There’s value to be had in adding Chris Sale, certainly. It makes the Red Sox more likely to win the division and avoid a wild card game. It also makes the Red Sox more likely to win the World Series once they get to the playoffs. The distinction lies in just how much of a difference it makes. Assuming they only give up Eduardo Rodriguez off the major league roster (a huge assumption) to go with the likes of Moncada and Kopech and presumably some other prospects, I don’t think their odds are actually all that much better. If they give up Bradley or Benintendi to go with Rodriguez and perhaps even Swihart, there’s a very real chance those odds actually end up worse.
In a year like 2015, when the Red Sox were more clearly in need of top-line pitching, and it might have more convincingly been the difference between a contender and a pretender, this sort of move might make sense. In a year like 2017, where the expectation is already contender, even moving to favorite (especially pre-season favorite) isn’t as significant as it might be made out to be. And that’s again assuming that the Red Sox actually get better through a Sale trade which, frankly, is far from a given.
Maybe the White Sox came down. Maybe the Nationals aren’t bidding this up too high. Maybe it’s going to be a reasonable or fair trade. But until we see a package heading back to Chicago that’s much less than what they seemed to be asking for mid-season, this news is again more frightening than anything else.