The struggling White Sox are now taking calls on the two best pitchers on their staff according to a report from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. In moves that would completely alter the landscape of the 2016 trade deadline, teams are at least doing their due diligence on both Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.
Just yesterday it appeared the White Sox may be teetering at the threshold of becoming deadline sellers. A report surfaced that the White Sox could make David Robertson, Todd Frazier, and even Adam Eaton available.
The only thing that has changed since yesterday is that the White Sox have added one more game into their loss column, after losing a rain-shortened contest against the division-rival Tigers by just one run. According to FanGraphs, the White Sox now just have a 3.5 percent chance of making the playoffs at all.
According to Heyman’s report, the Red Sox appear to be one of the more vocal callers when it comes to Sale and Quintana:
“The Red Sox, who already have made four trades, are said by some insiders to be greatly interested in the star pitchers, especially Sale, but the list of interested suitors is expected to be extremely long.
“The Red Sox have indeed checked in with Chicago. Closer David Robertson could fit Boston as well, considering three of their best relievers are on the disabled list at the moment.”
Sale is frequently heralded as one of the most elite pitchers in all of baseball and is the likely frontrunner for the Cy Young this season. While his strikeout rate is well down from previous seasons, Sale has shown a continued ability to succeed.
Not to be outdone however, Quintana has been quietly having an excellent season as well. Quintana ranks 26th by FIP in the entire major leagues and is pitching 20 percent better than the league average.
Heyman’s report comes just barely 24 hours after a report from Ken Rosenthal suggested Sale wasn’t really available at all:
Another source says the #WhiteSox were offered a "king's ransom" for Sale in the last 48 hours and responded with a flat "no."— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 21, 2016
While a ‘King’s Ransom’ literally means a high price, and he White Sox reportedly turned even that down, perhaps the right King’s Ransom could pry the ace lefty away.
For fun, some of you took some stabs at what a King’s Ransom could look like:
@mlbdailydish Urias, De Leon, Puig, Verdugos/Bellinger, ...— David Young (@DavidYoungTBLA) July 21, 2016
@mlbdailydish Benintendi, Mocada, Devers+— Eric J. Alves (@Eric_Alves87) July 21, 2016
@mlbdailydish Rangers: Gallo AND Profar, along with Tate, Lewis Brinson and some young low A players— Patrick Krauss (@patrickkrauss17) July 21, 2016
Interestingly, almost all of your suggestions revolved around the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Rangers, with many representing very interesting offers.
While offers like these would be hard to turn down, the reticence of the White Sox organization is warranted. Sale is under team control through the 2019 season and is just hitting his prime age seasons.
After three consecutive seasons below .500, the White Sox sit tantalizingly close to yet another. Trading away a cornerstone player at the end of such a long run of mediocrity could be extremely damaging to the jobs of Rick Hahn and others around the organization. However, if multiple teams are bidding back and forth, and actual ‘King’s Ransoms’ are on the line, dealing Sale or Quintana might be what’s best for the organization moving forward.