Will Boston Love or Loathe Chris Sale?

I am thrilled that Boston acquired Chris Sale, but not too thrilled. While he has excellent numbers, his alleged prima-donna attitude worries me. Some might think it’s petty to focus on his behavior. There’s the infamous uniform incident from last season when Sale destroyed the White Sox throwback jerseys. He’s also clashed with White Sox managers and front office people alike. For some it’s not a big deal. But will Boston loathe Chris Sale if his attitude keeps the Red Sox from winning?

Red Sox fans have a history of not tolerating a player’s bad attitude, no matter how great they are.loathe chris sale Ted Williams, despite being the last player to hit .400, received his fair share of boos at Fenway Park (purposely lining balls into the stands probably didn’t help). Mo Vaughn, despite being an All-Star and 1995 MVP, constantly clashed with Red Sox management. In fact, Vaughn’s animosity factored into the team’s decision not to resign him after becoming a free agent in 1998. Most fans might say, “Who cares?” Personally, I don’t care too much either. In Sale’s case, however, his history of sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong, and deciding what uniform the team will wear suggests he may not want to put the team before himself.

Camaraderie among teammates is important. If players don’t support each other then the team won’t win. It also affects morale. Fans in recent years have seen its fair share of fights between teammates. The heated dugout argument between Red Sox pitcher Wade Miley and John Farrell in June of 2015 caught people’s attention and made many question Miley’s ability to keep his cool. It reminds me of last season’s incident where Sale stuck up for teammate Adam LaRoche. LaRoche was asked not to bring his son to the clubhouse anymore, which led Sale to criticize the White Sox front office. To many, it made Sale look like a hero for standing up to authority. Personally though, I think Sale used it as an opportunity to make himself look bigger than he is.

Loathe Chris Sale? Not So Fast, But…

I don’t loathe Chris Sale myself. He’s a dominant pitcher and I’m looking forward to seeing what he’ll bring to Boston. But I hope he’s aware of what he’s getting himself into. Badmouthing the White Sox front office might fly in Chicago, but I doubt Dave Dombrowski will tolerate that. Arguing with manager Robin Ventura and getting involved in another player’s business might also fly in Chicago, but Boston fans won’t be so forgiving if he flashes that attitude at them. Red Sox fans will love Sale if he can help deliver another World Series title for Boston. But if he wants to be the defiant player he acted like in Chicago, he’d better prepare for an onslaught of verbal abuse from Red Sox fans, especially if he doesn’t deliver.

Red Sox Land Chris Sale in Blockbuster Deal

And then the stove got hotter.

The Red Sox pulled off a nice deal Tuesday morning. They shook the baseball world Tuesday afternoon. In the morning, they acquired a hard-throwing set-up man in Tyler Thornburg, parting ways with Travis Shaw. Then, the rumors Red Sox fans have heard forChris Sale over a year now have come to fruition and Chris Sale is a Boston Red Sock. The best part of the deal is: they didn’t break the bank.

Don’t get it twisted: Chris Sale is the best pitcher in the American League. That is an indisputable fact. Since 2012, Sale leads the AL in ERA, WHIP, complete games, shutouts, and OPS against. In his sevens seasons, he has made the All-Star team six times and he led the league in ERA and strikeouts in 2015 and complete games in 2016. He has also never been outside the top six in Cy Young voting the last five seasons. Sale led the league in strikeouts per nine innings twice in his career and is the active leader among all AL pitchers.

Dave Dombrowski has now made his starting rotation nearly obsolete. They now have two of the top pitchers in the American League this decade in Sale and David Price along with the AL Cy Young winner in Rick Porcello. They also have Eduardo Rodriguez, who was lethal after coming off the DL and Drew Pomeranz, their best pitcher in the postseason. That being said, Pomeranz is clearly the weakest link in the rotation and that’s a good position to be in. If Steven Wright is as healthy as the management says he is, he could even return to All-Star form.

Chicago’s Side of the Sale Deal

On the other side of the deal, the Red Sox did also give up two of their top five prospects. They parted ways with the Minor League Player of the Year in Yoan Moncada and their top pitching prospect, Michael Kopech. Moncada has every chance to be an All-Star and Kopech has hit triple digits on the radar gun. Moncada still has some work to do as we saw at the end of the season, but he should be a good player. Kopech didn’t get above Single-A last year and injured himself punching a teammate. The other two prospects were Luis Basabe and Victor Diaz. In the end, you got a perennial Cy Young candidate without touching your Major League roster. That is a deal any GM would be dumb to turn down.

The Red Sox have attacked this season the right way. They have gone for the arms. They added a top-of-the-line starter and a dynamite set-up man in front of Craig Kimbrel. Also, Red Sox fans should know one more Chris Sale stat before they question this trade again. Against the Yankees, Sale has a 1.17 ERA, the lowest in the live ball era (1920) against the Bronx Bombers in a minimum of 50 innings. Finally, it’s very team friendly. Boston will have him under control for three years with an average of just over 12 million a year. In comparison, Rick Porcello gets about 21 million and David Price gets about 34 million. The Red Sox were a contender already. With Sale added to their rotation, they are a favorite…if they have discarded their throwback uniforms of course.

Porcello Wins His 20th Game

Friday night proved to be a great culmination for Rick Porcello’s season. Going into 2016, Porcello was one of the major question marks for the Red Sox. The answer to the question has been a season of dominance for him. That dominance has now produced a 20-win season.

Porcello shut down one of the league’s best offenses Friday night, limiting the Blue Jays toPorcello two runs and six hits in seven innings. He also struck out seven while only surrounding one walk. Backing him up, the Red Sox offense slugged their way to a dominant 13-3 win at the Rogers Centre.

The win Friday makes Porcello the first Red Sock to have a 20-win season since Josh Beckett in 2007. If Porcello can offer the same postseason dominance Beckett had in ’07, it could be the same result for the Sox; a World Championship. With the number 20 under the “win” column, Porcello should be the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young Award.

Porcello’s Cy Young Résumé

Porcello’s year has been great to say the least. While not an All-Star, he was the first pitcher in the majors this year to reach those 20 wins, including being 13-0 at home. He also adds an ERA of 3.21 and leads the majors in strikeouts-walk ratio. You can make an argument for Chris Sale or even Toronto’s J.A. Happ, but it is really tough to argue against Boston’s bona fide ace.

More importantly than the 20th win for Porcello, this was a big game for the Red Sox. In such a crucial series, this was a statement win for them. They knocked out Toronto’s #2 starter in Marco Estrada after just 2 and 2/3 innings. While squandering some chances early, the Red Sox blew the game open with a six-run seventh inning to take it from a 5-2 game to an 11-2 game. With this win, the Red Sox can not relinquish first place by the time they leave Toronto on Sunday.

With each milestone a Red Sock gets, the fate of the team still remains the key focus. Whether it is a new record for David Ortiz, Mookie Betts’ MVP-caliber season, or Rick Porcello’s Cy Young campaign, it is all about the playoff picture at this point. Given what has happened the last two years, it is refreshing that the playoffs are what the Red Sox are focusing on. However, Friday night was for Rick Porcello, who put an exclamation point on a terrific season so far.

Abad Joins Red Sox. Sale Deal Off?

The Red Sox obtained some much needed relief pitching from the Minnesota Twins today. Needing more relief pitching, Fernando Abad joins Red Sox pitching staff with hours left to go before Monday’s 4pm trade deadline. In terms of Chris Sale, however, all signs point to no deal between the Red Sox and White Sox southpaw.

USA Today’s Bob Nightingale has stated that the Chicago White Sox will keep Chris SaleAbad Joins Red Sox after Monday’s trade deadline. Despite high hopes, the Red Sox reportedly spent most of last night trying to work out a deal for Sale. As of 3:30 pm though, no deal has been announced. With that, it is likely that Sale will remain with the White Sox for the remainder of the season. The Red Sox will walk away from today with at least one new addition to their pitching roster though.

Abad Joins Red Sox

Fernando Abad comes from Minnesota after posting a 1-4 record in 39 games this season. Abad’s numbers aren’t particularly strong. However, it’s hard to blame him for his paltry season. The Twins currently rank 20th in on-base percentage (.317) and 18th in runs scored (461). With the Red Sox offense, there’s a good chance that Abad could be a missing piece to a bullpen puzzle. Maybe Abad will become our premiere closer. Who knows?

Abad joins the Red Sox as its bullpen continues to struggle. Craig Kimbrel went onto the disabled list with a bad knee weeks ago and hasn’t returned yet. Koji Uehara is out indefinitely with a strained right pectoral muscle. Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly aren’t working out the way the team has hoped. The addition of Chris Sale might have been a welcome sight for the Red Sox, who could have moved one of their stronger pitchers to the bullpen, but as I’ve said before, Sale is too unpredictable. So as Abad joins Red Sox staff, it’ll be interesting to see how he’ll contribute.

Will the Red Sox Acquire Anyone Today?

We are in the final hours of Major League Baseball’s trade deadline. Will the Boston Red Sox acquire anyone before 4pm? It’s not looking like Dave Dombrowski will make any deals today, at least not yet. But with names like Andrew Benintendi and Christian Vazquez coming up as players the Red Sox might trade, it’s hard to say. Other prospects like Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and Rafael Davers are also trending on Twitter in relation to possible trades. With players like Chris Sale, Carlos Beltran, and Jonathan Lucroy up for grabs, anything is possible!

To see Benintendi traded, one of Boston’s top prospects, would shock the Red Sox Nation, especiallyRed sox acquire when many believe Benintendi is an untouchable prospect. After all, he has an amazing history. Initially drafted by the Cincinatti Reds in the 31st round of the 2013 MLB draft, Benintendi instead enrolled at the University of Arkansas. In 2015, Benentendi led the Southeastern Conference with a .380 batting average and 19 home runs before being named the SEC Player of the Year and winning the Baseball America College Player of the Year Award. He was drafted again in 2015, this time by the Boston Red Sox as a seventh overall draft pick with a $3.6 million bonus. Benintendi debuted with the Lowell Spinners in the Class-A New York-Penn League later that year.

Some believe Andrew Benintendi could be the next Carl Yastrzemski. He’s currently hitting over .300 between stints at Single and Double-A levels. His twelve triples alone signify his developing strength and speed. Between his power, speed, and eye coordination, the Red Sox can’t let an offensive and defensive asset slip away. It’s a little harder to say the same about Christian Vazquez. Vazquez is a good defensive player. But he’s an offensive dud.

If Red Sox Acquire Sale, It Shouldn’t Be For Benentendi, Moncada, or Kopech.

Personally, I think it would be a bad idea to let Andrew Benintendi go. Benintendi’s strengths and potential outweigh any reason to trade him. And as I’ve said before, I strongly doubt that Chris Sale is worth trading Benintendi for. He’s an excellent pitcher, but  he’s totally unstable. Our pitchers need run support, not an addition. The Red Sox currently lead the American League in runners left on base. Instead of worrying about pitching, we should focus on clutch hitting. So with that said, it might make more sense if the Red Sox acquire Lucroy or Beltran. Beltran is a .300 hitter with runners on base, and runners in scoring position. So get them for Vazquez or Blake Swiart (and throw Clay Buchholz in too). We don’t need pitching. We need clutch hitters.

Mookie Betts Leave Boston for Chris Sale?

The trade deadline is quickly approaching. Dave Dombrowski is vague about who he might buy. He’s being even more quiet about who will leave. One name that comes up is Mookie Betts. Would Mookie Betts leave Boston? Would Dave Dombrowski actually let go of one of our very best in exchange for a pitcher who has wardrobe issues?

MLB.com reported this morning that “[White Sox] could land Mookie Betts and a couple ofMookie Betts Leave Boston top prospects from the group of Andrew Benintendi, Michael Kopech and Yoan Moncada as a starting point for Sale in a hypothetical deal with Boston.”

No. Just No.

There’s no doubt that Chris Sale is a great pitcher. He’s 14-3 with a 3.18 so far this season. But he’s irrational! He’s a loose cannon! He instigated a brawl against Kansas City last season and received a 5 game suspension. At the beginning of this season Sale inserted himself into an issue between Adam LaRoche and the White Sox front office over the presence of LaRoche’s son in the clubhouse. I’m not saying that LaRoche didn’t have a legitimate gripe about the issue, but in my opinion Sale saw an opportunity for self-promotion. It was his chance to stick it to the front office over past issues. I’ll admit that idea is only my own opinion, but the fact is that Sale likes to create drama.

Then there’s the uniform issue. On July 23rd Sale cut up the throwback uniforms that players were supposed to wear for a game that night. Sale was scratched from the lineup, and received a five game suspension as a result of his erratic behavior. Let me repeat that. Sale threw a fit over a uniform. It’s no different from a five year old throwing a tantrum over having to wear a bowtie to church on Sunday. On top of that, if Sale ever cut up the Red Sox 1975 throwback uniforms he’d better hope the Boston police find him before the angry mob does. If Sale knows anything about history, he knows that Bostonians don’t take well to outsiders slamming their heritage.

Do we really want to trade Mookie Betts, along with Andrew Benintendi, Michael Kopech and Yoan Moncada for this guy? We already had a eccentric pitcher like Sale and his name was Bill Lee. But unlike Sale, Lee acted out because of social injustice, and unfair treatment of other players without inserting his own selfish motives. In other words, while Lee himself was a character, he cared an awful lot for his team and teammates, whereas Sale is much more self-serving.

Seeing Mookie Betts Leave Boston Would Be Disastrous

Betts is currently hitting .305 with 20 home runs and 64 RBIs. He OWNS right field, and works well with Jackie Bradley Jr. He’s an offensive and defensive weapon, he’s beloved in Boston, and came up through the Red Sox farm system. And what about Andrew Benintendi, Michael Kopech and Yoan Moncada? Benintendi could be the next Ortiz, Kopech throws faster than anyone else in baseball, and Moncada could be a potential Gold Glove winner when he makes it to the show. Do the Red Sox honestly want to trade these guys away for a loose cannon? To see Mookie Betts leave Boston for a self-serving pitcher would be a disaster, especially since the team already has issues with its current pitching staff.

Betts needs to stay. Sale needs to go elsewhere or stay in Chicago. I don’t care. Just as long as he doesn’t come to Boston.