Remember a few weeks ago, when the Hot Stove was barren and cold? That’s no longer the case. A few minutes ago, the stove caught fire:
BREAKING: Sale to #RedSox. Moncada, Kopech and two other prospects to #WhiteSox.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2016
BtBS will have more in-depth breakdowns of the deal as it becomes official, but for now, it’s safe to say this shakes up the AL East picture quite a bit, and sets the White Sox up with a big reward.
Contrary to popular belief, the Red Sox had a pretty good rotation this year — the club’s starters ranked sixth in ERA- and sixth in DRA — but the tail end was a little shaky, with Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly and others stumbling repeatedly. Sale brings a career ERA- of 73 and DRA of 2.46, each of which is among the best marks of all time. He’ll combine with Rick Porcello and David Price to give the Red Sox one of the best rotations in the American Laegue, if not the majors.
On the White Sox side, a ton of players come into the fold. Yoan Moncada is a 21-year-old prospect who signed last year out of Cuba. In 2016, he played in High and Double A, recording a .294/.407/.511 triple-slash over 491 plate appearances (and again, that’s as a 21-year-old), earning him Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year honors. For a Chicago club starved of offense, that’ll make a big difference.
Michael Kopech, meanwhile, could fill Sale’s slot in the rotation a few years down the road. This season, the 20-year-old righty started 11 games at High-A Salem, tallying a 2.60 ERA in 52.0 innings. He struck out an even 40.0 percent of the batters he faced there (although he also walked 14.1 percent), so he clearly has ability. If he can sustain that performance through the higher levels of the minors, he’ll quickly become a big-league starter.
For the Red Sox, this trade means they’re going all-in for these next few years — Sale has just three years remaining before free agency. For the White Sox, it means they’re finally beginning to rebuild, and they’re getting off to a great start.
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Ryan Romano is the co-managing editor for Beyond the Box Score. He also writes about the Orioles for Camden Depot, and about politics for The Diamondback. Follow him on Twitter if you enjoy angry tweets about Maryland sports.