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.

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.

Top Prospects Must Stay With Red Sox

As the trade deadline approaches, talks loom about who the Red Sox will let go in exchange for a strong pitcher. The most recent news points to the White Sox scouting players like Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi. According to ESPN, the White Sox sent scouts to watch Boston’s Double-A team on July 28th. Moncada and Benintendi play there now. Personally, I don’t think any pitcher in the MLB is quite worth giving up Moncada or Benintendi, especially Chris Sale. If Boston wants to make it to another World Series, then the Red Sox top prospects must stay in the farm system.

Yoan Moncada has already stolen 43 bases in stints at Single and Double-A this season.Red Sox Top Prospects Must Stay He’ll easily be a .300 average hitter in time. He can also hit for power. The fact that he can play infield, and serve as a designed hitter only adds to his value.

Andrew Benintendi is the next Carl Yastrzemski. He’s currently hitting over .300 with twelve triples between stints at Single and Double-A levels. You can attribute his triples to his developing strength and speed. Overall, he’s developing power, speed, and eye coordination, which will be both offensive and defensive assets. These factors signal that he’ll become a Boston superstar.

Let’s not forget about Michael Kopech. The guy is a wizard on the mound. Anyone his age that can throw 105 MPH is definitely worth keeping around. He pitched a immaculate inning a few weeks ago. He’s currently carrying an ERA of 1.35 in 26 innings this season. While that’s not a lot to bank on right now, it’s a VERY promising sign of what’s to come.

Experts like famed sportswriter Peter Gammons claim that all three of these prospects are “untouchable” and can’t be traded. According to ESPN, however, Dave Dombrowski said last week that “teams’ motivations tend to change as the deadline creeps closer.” Let’s hope that Gammons is right on this one.

Red Sox Top Prospects Must Stay To Create A New Dynasty

Seeing all three of these prospects on the field in Fenway Park in the near future would be riveting. They’ll be a throwback to the days of Yaz, Boggs, and Clemens. Players like Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Steven Wright, and Xander Bogaerts will be veterans by then. They can guide Moncada, Benintendi, and Kopech towards a dynasty that Boston hasn’t seen the likes of since the turn of the 20th century when the Red Sox won five World Series between 1903 and 1918. Moncada, Benintendi, Kopech, and other Red Sox top prospects must stay with the team if this dynasty is ever going to come to fruition.

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.

Will the Red Sox Pursue Jose Fernandez?

Let’s face it. The Red Sox pitching isn’t as bad as people think, but it needs work. The level of expectation placed on David Price wore him out. Price is among the league’s leaders in strikeouts and has racked up nine wins as of July 19th. His ERA over 4 and his seven losses, however, are more than people expected. Rick Porcello and Steven Wright are marching closer to becoming the team’s top two pitchers. If the Red Sox pursue Jose Fernandez, however, it would be the missing piece in the Red Sox rotation. The Red Sox Nation should pay attention to this potential move, especially since David Ortiz recently commented that this idea should become a reality.

Why Fernandez? There’s a few good reasons the Red Sox should pursue him. First, inRed Sox Pursue Jose Fernandez 3,685 starts, Miami Marlins’ pitchers have had only four games with 14 strikeouts. Fernandez, however, has pitched four games with 14 strikeouts in only 65 starts. Since his debut in 2013, Fernandez has accumulated a 33-13 win/loss record with a 2.44 ERA. Fernandez was Rookie of the Year in 2013 and is already a two-time All-Star. In four seasons, Fernandez has accumulated over 500 strikeouts. On top of all that, he’s one 23 years old. Fernandez hasn’t even entered the prime of his career yet. Put him in a rotation with Price, Porcello, Wright, and Eduardo Rodriguez, and you’d have a much stronger pitching staff.

Right now the best way for the Red Sox to pursue Fernandez is through a trade. The Red Sox minor league farm system is packed with both offensive and defensive talent. While I’d hate to see him go, Michael Kopech is a hot prospect in the Red Sox farm system. He can throw 105 MPH and has the potential to become an ace (If he can stay out of trouble). Yoan Moncada recently had his first multi-homer game with a total of seven in 21 games with AA Portland. He’s also a switch-hitter, a valuable skill any team would appreciate having. Offering both of these prospects to Miami would be a difficult deal to turn down.

Whatever happens, if the Red Sox pursue Jose Fernandez, they’d only be strengthening their own staff. Fernandez is a prime pitcher, and he’d make the team’s rotation a solid defensive powerhouse.

Michael Kopech Throws Immaculate Inning

Boston Red Sox prospect Michael Kopech recently flashed the greatness that made him a #1 draft pick in 2014. People watch with curiosity and awe when Kopech throws. During a July 7th game against the Carolina Mudcats, Kopech struck out six in four innings. He also only gave up one hit. What was particularly impressive was how he threw an immaculate inning in the fourth. Such an accomplishment is no small task at all.

An immaculate inning in baseball is when the pitcher retires the side on nine pitches. That’sKopech throws three strikes per batter for three outs. Only 75 pitchers in Major League Baseball history have ever thrown an immaculate inning. Out of those 75, only three were rookies. In fact, none in Major League Baseball were thrown between 1929 and 1952. Clay Buchholz and Pedro Martinez are the only two Red Sox pitchers to have accomplished the feat in team history. So seeing Kopech throw an immaculate inning this soon in his career is immaculate in itself. What is perhaps just as impressive is that several of Kopech’s pitches topped 100 MPH, including a 103 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. When someone like Kopech throws 103 MPH, it’s not going to be taken lightly.

Kopeck has not played without controversy. He received a 50-game season-ending suspension last summer for testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug Oxilofreine. Kopech broke his right hand in a fistfight with his roommate the following year, further delaying his return to baseball. So despite his brilliance on the mound, Kopeck still has a ways to go before he can reach the majors.

Major League Baseball currently ranks Kopech the fifth-best prospect in the Red Sox organization behind Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi. Baseball Prospectus ranks him 98th overall. His high ranking is partly why the Red Sox continue to support him. Kopech himself is thankful. “I don’t want to be portrayed as a bad person by any means,” Kopech said in a June 16th Boston.com article. “I mean, the past is the past and I’m ready to just better myself.”