Of the three young southpaws in the rotation, the ChiSox are most likely to move Hector Santiago, but Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal hears that teams are "pushing Chicago to consider" parting ways with Sale. White Sox owner Jerry Reisdorf has added some fuel to the trade-rumor fire, telling Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he's "had only one one player in my 33 year career that couldn't be traded. He played basketball." (Reisdorf, of course, was referring to Michael Jordan.)
The D'Backs and Braves have already been tied to the lanky left-hander in the hours since word his potential availability was made known, but several reports -- like this one from Joel Sherman of the NY Post -- have indicated that a deal is highly unlikely at this point.
If Chicago were to seriously consider dealing Sale, there would, ironically, be no discount of any kind. To get an idea of the return required, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com writes that it's "hard to imagine" the D'Backs putting a trade package together for Sale that doesn't include top prospect Archie Bradley, who may very well be the most coveted minor-league arm in the game at the moment.
What makes the 24-year-old Sale so appealing is not just that he's one of the best young starters in baseball, it's also that he's under contract through at least 2017 for the very low sum of $20.65 million. His five-year deal with Chicago includes club for 2018 and 2019 as well, so any team who acquired him this winter could potentially have him atop its rotation for the next six years.
In two full seasons as a starter for the White Sox, Sale owns a 3.06 ERA and 9.3 strikeouts per nine in 406⅓ innings. Those very strong campaigns have earned him two straight all-star appearances and two straight top 10 finishes in the AL Cy Young voting.