Selling Chris Sale
There's been so much swirling around this offseason, most of it about possible trades rather than signings. It would appear that GMs across the league have realized that trading away fully formed players for prospects is actually a fucking good idea. This method of trading has come in handy a lot over the past few years. How can we forget the R.A. Dickey for Travis D'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard trade? Or the Incredibly one sided Shelby Miller for #1 Overall Pick Dansby Swanson Pitcher Aaron Blair and everyday Outfielder Ender Inciarte? It's becoming quite the way of life for a lot of teams. Oakland's been doing it for years, but the rest of the world's picking up on it, and now the time has come for prospects to play their first big role.
Within all of the trade rumors we've heard the past few weeks have been a couple of big name starting pitchers. Justin Verlander would like to play in Los Angeles. Chris Archer might be moving to a winning team. Aces can be moved, if the price is right. When R.A. Dickey won the Cy Young the Mets got Noah Syndergaard for him. The biggest one being kicked around is Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox.
Chris Scissorhands Sale has been the Ace for the Chicago White Sox since he began his tenure as a Starter in 2012. Since 2012 the South Side South Paw has been in the Top Six in Cy Young voting every year. Sale came the closest to winning the award in 2014, only to be beat out by Felix Hernandez and Corey Kluber. Sale has always been seen as the Kershaw of the American League, a lefty who's stuff is so nasty that to even catch a piece of a pitch should be looked at as a triumph. That's how the beginning of the season looked for Sale, as he started the season by winning his first 9 starts, going the full 27 outs three times and held an ERA of 1.58. At the All Star Break Sale found himself holding strong to a 14-3 record with a 3.38 ERA. From there Sale would spiral to a 17-10, but managed to lower his ERA to 3.34.
Chris Sale has to get out of Chicago. There's no future for Sale in Chicago. He's got to get out. It's not a healthy environment. Lest we forget this is a team that had a full-blown revolt around whether or not it was "Bring Your Son to Work 2016." Adam LaRoche, a career .260 hitter who averaged 26 home runs and 86 RBIs a year, was asked to “dial back” the amount of time his son Drake spent in the clubhouse by White Sox President Kenny Williams. There are two logical things any person would do in this situation. 1) You would dial back the amount of time your son was spending in the Clubhouse and 2) you would maybe re-evaluate how much time your son is spending around grown men and not in school? What did Adam LaRoche do? He made this whole situation WAY bigger than in should have been. LaRoche fought back by defending his choices as a father, which is well within his rights. At the end of the day, it’s not your call. This is your place of employment, and your bosses have asked you to do something. Do it. Plain and simple. LaRoche ended up retiring soon after the whole circus around this began, but the biggest story was how Chris Sale reacted.
Sale reportedly had a very contentious meeting with Williams where he got up in Williams’ face and screamed at him. Sale berated Williams, telling him to stay out of the clubhouse because that's the players' domain, and it belongs to the players.
Just so we have some context, here’s what New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman said about Sale calling the locker rooms “the player’s domain." ““The entire facility is our facility, and we control it. We control the rules governing the facility. And that’s the policy. There’s definitely no part of a workplace that’s owned by the players, above the company. It’s the New York Yankees’ clubhouse, the New York Yankees’ training room, the New York Yankees’ dugout, the New York Yankees’ field. We dictate the access.” So yeah, Chris, you’re not right, but it's important to point out that Sale never faced repercussions for this. Why? Because he’s a goddamn superstar.
There was also the lovely Chris Sale Uniform debacle of 2016. For those of you who were under a rock this summer, Chris Sale was unhappy about the throwback jerseys the White Sox were slated to wear on the day of his start. So he did what anyone else would do! He cut them the fuck up and was sent home. Sale was unrepentant when asked if he regretted his decision, saying, "Do I regret standing up for something I believe in? Absolutely not." BUT DO YOU REGRET RUINING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF TEAM EQUIPMENT BECAUSE YOU WERE UPSET ABOUT WHAT UNIFORM YOU ARE WEARING? DO YOU CHRIS?!
Does Sale have an attitude problem? Yes. Do I think it’s something that will change if he gets traded? Yes. Do I think it’s mainly caused by his frustration of being on a Chicago White Sox team that can’t quite put things together? YOU BET YOUR BOOTS, I DO. Sale has all the upside in the entire world, but when looking into his value to a team willing to trade for him, you have to take his attitude into account. So where does he end up if he does in fact get traded? I’ve got three landing spots that will not only set Sale up for success, but also propel the organization forward.
1) Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers give Chris Sale a hug opportunity to win on a team that is already poised to repeat it’s run to the playoffs. In 2016, when looking for an additional lefty in the rotation the Dodgers opted for Rich Hill, who they got with Josh Reddick for a slew of good prospects. Chris Sale is Rich Hill on Crack. He’s obviously an upgrade, and imagining a rotation of Kershaw, Sale, and Maeda is great. That being said, getting Sale doesn’t solve the Dodgers problems. They need starting pitchers and while Sale is one of the best starting pitchers in the game, he would give the Dodgers 3 lefty starters, something not a lot of teams have. Whether that tips the scale one way or the other is up for debate, but should be considered. Having a one-two punch of the best left handers in the game and then another top 4 lefty would be heinous for the NL East Champs, but can it be done? Only time will tell.
2) Atlanta Braves
Atlanta is investing in youth. That’s been made very clear by the two big signings of R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon. I’m kidding of course, because the Atlanta Braves have a wealth of young players and are poised to be a very comptetive ball club in the near future. The Braves have also been linked to Chris Archer this offseason, which makes the addition of Sale, much more enticing. Chris Sale, Chris Archer, Julio Tehran, BArtolo Colon and R.A. Dickey? That’s not a half bad starting 5. Not to mention you can throw spot starts pretty much whenever you want, due to your vast minor league depth. It might not be an immediate success story, but the Braves seem closer to a long run into October than the White Sox.
3) Saint Louis Cardinals
If I am Chris Sale, this is where I want t o end up. Saint Louis is in desperate need of a big name star on the mound. Adam Wainwright was that guy, but as he approaches 35, it would appear that his abilities are slipping away. Carlos Martinez had a break out year in 2016 and that should be celebrated. The Chicago Cubs are not going anywhere as their young squad is only going to age like a fine wine, you need to compete with Chicago now. You can’t take a back seat. Sale is the guy to lead you into that battle. He’s your new Ace he’s the guy.St. Louis will also begood place for Sale to grow as a professional ballplayer. St. Louis is a big baseball town. They know the history of the game and have no time for guys who can’t be a part of a team or look out for just themselves. The Cards will give Sale the recognition he needs, the room to grow and the opportunity to win. Something he won’t find in Chicago.
If I’m Chris Sale, I’m looking to get out of a White Sox uniform. There’s an interesting stat that I found while doing some research on another piece about pitchers. In 2016 when pitching in games where he received 0-2 runs support from his team Chris Sale was 3-5. For comparison, Cy Young Winners Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello were 0-5 and 1-3, while Corey Kluber and Justin Verlander were a combined 0-11 in those games. Chris Sale needs to be put in a situation where he can win, because he’s trying to do it all by himself in Chicago.