Boston Red Sox Trade Rumors: Chris Sale Bidding War With Chicago Cubs?

Ryan DeVault

Boston Red Sox trade rumors link the team to ace starting pitcher Chris Sale. The Red Sox have interest in Sale, as he could become a key acquisition during the 2017 MLB offseason. It’s possible, though, that the Red Sox could get into a bidding war with the Chicago Cubs to acquire him from the Chicago White Sox. A report by ESPN confirmed that Red Sox team president Dave Dombroski is interested in making a deal for Sale, as long as it doesn’t include giving up Yoan Moncada or Michael Kopech in strong prospect packages.

It was clear at the end of the 2016 MLB regular season and into the postseason that one of the weak links for the Boston Red Sox is starting pitching. The front office felt that it had addressed that issue by giving David Price a huge contract in free agency, but he didn’t put up the numbers that ensured fans would stay happy with the signing. In a league-leading 35 starts, Price posted a 3.99 ERA and 1.204 WHIP. Price did have a 17-9 record, but it was aided by a very good lineup in Boston.

A reason these Boston Red Sox trade rumors make sense for the team is that Chris Sale has a very affordable contract for an ace starting pitcher. With two team options for the 2018 and 2019 MLB season, Sale is slated to earn $38 million for the next three years. That would be a great contract for the Red Sox to acquire if Sale continues to put up numbers that rank him among the best starting pitchers in baseball.

Chris Sale On Mound
[Image by Rob Foldy/Getty Images]

During the 2016 MLB season, Chris Sale pitched 226 and two-thirds innings for the Chicago White Sox. He posted a 3.34 ERA, 1.037 WHIP, and a 17-10 record for the struggling team. Sale also led Major League Baseball with six complete games over his 32 starts, something that the Red Sox could badly use to save the bullpen next year.

During his seven seasons with the White Sox, Sale has career numbers of a 74-50 record, a 3.00 ERA, and a WHIP of just 1.065. He also averages 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings and has an ERA+ of 135. Those numbers rank among the best pitchers in baseball over that time and have garnered Sale five-straight appearances on the American League All-Star team.

There have also been Chicago Cubs trade rumors, suggesting the team could make an offer that includes Kyle Schwarber in exchange for Chris Sale. This would further strengthen the starting rotation for the Cubs, while giving up a defensive liability who is better suited to be a designated hitter in the American League. It’s a deal that Cubs fans might oppose due to some clutch hitting that Schwarber did in the MLB postseason, but it would certainly give the Cubs a huge upgrade in the rotation.

Chris Sale Throwing Sidearm
[Image by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]

These Boston Red Sox trade rumors also seem to indicate that the team is not desperate to add more pitching. Taking Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech off the table indicates that the front office wants to continue re-building through the Minor League system while adding significant pieces through free agency. If Chris Sale was a free agent this offseason, it would be safe to assume that the Red Sox would overpay to acquire him. As it stands, though, that might not be the case on the trade market.

Chris Sale is going to be a difference-maker with any team that he plays for in the 2017 MLB season and beyond. If the Chicago White Sox are intent on dealing Sale and content to take back a good package of prospects, then there are certainly going to be a number of general managers making that call. The problem is always finding the right trading partner, and these latest Boston Red Sox trade rumors might just indicate that Dave Dombroski isn’t that man.

[Featured Image by David Banks/Getty Images]