The Yankees have reportedly inquired about White Sox’s ace Chris Sale according to a report from Jon Heyman. In the wake of his team-enforced suspension, there is growing speculation that Sale could become available on the trading block.
Sale’s suspension, which ended Thursday, is due to an argument he had with management over wearing the team’s throwback uniforms. Immediately prior to a start, Sale was scratched from the game and sent home with Matt Albers slotted in as a spot starter.
Despite missing at least one start with the team, Sale is still the likely frontrunner for the AL Cy Young award and teams would still line up to acquire a player with that talent.
The Yankees meanwhile—who appear to be in sell mode—appear to be in on the Sale sweepstakes if it does in fact take place:
“General manager Brian Cashman has made clear they “aren’t waving the white flag,” and sources say, the Yankees have indeed called the Sox a couple times about Sale.”
While Heyman brings up a caveat that “just about everyone has called about Sale,” he presents a reason to believe why the Yankees feel like a legitimate landing spot for Sale:
“The Yankees are indeed on the cusp of the race, plus they are hot and suddenly have a nice prospect stash, maybe for the first time in years, thanks especially to the inclusion of teen-aged wunderkind shortstop Gleyber Torres from the Chicago Cubs in the Chapman blockbuster.”
Whether the Yankees are actually on the cusp of the pennant race is up for interpretation. At 52-49, the team is in fourth-place in the division and 6.5 back of the first-place Orioles. With 61 games left, it’s absolutely possible that the Yankees make up some ground. However, getting by three teams—all of whom believe they are also in contention—could be an uphill battle. Of course, acquiring Sale would make that battle a little easier.
Over Sale’s 133 innings, he has allowed 47 earned runs on 105 hits and 29 walks while striking out 129. While his strikeout rate and whiff rate are down from last season, Sale is pitching to contact a bit more so as to work deeper into games. So far, that strategy has worked as he’s lost no dominance and gained an extra third of an inning per start.
The price for Sale—if he is indeed available—would be exorbitant. However, with so few options in the upcoming free agent market, the bevy of teams looking for pitching help might find that Sale is their best option. With the trade deadline on Monday, expect talks to heat up around the White Sox ace regardless of availability.