On December 6, 2016 the Boston Red Sox sent a package centered around Yoan Moncada — an elite prospect hoped to be a future infield cornerstone — to the Chicago White Sox for Christopher Allen Sale. Sale was one of the very best pitchers in the world and, in joining a team that won the AL East the season before with an enviable young core led by Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, his mission was clear: solidify the rotation and make the Red Sox World Series champions.
He did just that:
Today, the Red Sox dealt Chris Sale (along with $17 million of the $27.5 million owed to him) to the Atlanta Braves for Vaughn Grissom, a highly regarded prospect now hoped to be the starting second baseman of the 2024 Red Sox and a cornerstone of the infield for the foreseeable future. We’ll have much more to say about both Sale and Grissom in the days to come. Moreover, there will likely be additional significant personnel moves before the Sox convene in Fort Myers — the team still needs more starting pitching and Grissom frees up other pieces for a big trade (pieces like Ceddanne Rafaela, Nick Yorke, Jarren Duran, or. . . Marcelo Mayer).
For now, though, I’ll say this: this looks like an absolute steal by Craig Breslow. Grissom is not an uber prospect, but he was ranked as high as #77 on the Baseball America list at one point, he fills a glaring positional hole on the Red Sox, and he could be a future .300 hitter with with good plate discipline if things break right. Chris Sale, meanwhile, could suffer an injury that turns his elbow into Gak when he shakes hands with his new teammates on the first day of Spring Training.
So long and thanks for the memories, Chris. Welcome and good luck, Vaughn.