MLB Hot Stove: Chicago White Sox And Washington Nationals Close To Chris Sale Trade

Chris Sale is one step closer to joining a new team. Based on several reports, the Chicago White Sox are in deep talks with the Washington Nationals to send Chris Sale to the nation’s capital. The rumors from the MLB winter meetings are circulating with the White Sox on the verge of dealing their best player. Multiple teams are in talks with the Chicago White Sox for the star hurler. Something can happen within the next 24 hours.

According to ESPN, the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals are discussing a blockbuster trade at the baseball winter meetings. Those talks are centering around Chris Sale, whom many people in baseball regard as a top 5 pitcher. As being reported, if the Nationals are to acquire Sale, it will likely take their two best prospects, plus other minor leaguers to get a deal done.

Right-handed starter Lucas Giolito and outfielder Victor Robles are the Nationals two best prospects. According to MLB‘s list of 100 prospects, Giolito and Robles are No. 3 and No. 10 respectively. That is where the deal between the White Sox and Nationals begin. It will be what else the Nationals offer the White Sox that should consummate the trade.

Going into the off-season it was unclear what the Chicago White Sox were going to do. Another dismal season was in the books, with no set direction in place. Attendance had taken a ginormous hit. Fans of the White Sox got a glimpse of what it felt like to have a World Series champion in the city. Unfortunately, the winning team was the Chicago Cubs.

Whether or not changing the course is a good idea for the White Sox remains to be seen. Rebuilding is not something the team has been known to do. In fact, it has only been twice when the White Sox has hit the reset button in 25 years. This includes one of the most infamous trades in the history of the MLB, known as the “White Flag Trade” (courtesy of Bleacher Report). Their trade partner was the San Francisco Giants.

At the time of the 1997 trade, the Chicago White Sox were only three games behind the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central standings. The White Sox 52-53 prior to the trade. It was perhaps a move that angered fans to a point where they no longer would root for the franchise.

This thinking has to play on the mind of Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who opened up (courtesy of CSN Chicago) about how difficult it would be to trade Chris Sale.

“You have to have four prospects who can’t possibly miss to get one. I’ve seen so many players over the years who were going to be phenoms, they were going to be future Hall of Famers, and we don’t even remember what their names are anymore. That’s why when you’re trading a player of stature you’ve got to get multiple can’t-miss prospects back. That’s why it makes it tough to trade a player of great stature.”

Reinsdorf’s words speak of honesty. Because he approved the “White Flag Trade” in 1997 and he experienced the backlash that stills exists today, the White Sox chairman understands that nothing is guaranteed. What he also realizes is that it is time for the White Sox to get a jump start on rebuilding their team. It is Reinsdorf’s wish to see one more World Series in his lifetime. The best way for that to happen is to hit the reset button.

Getting involved in deep talks with the Washington Nationals is just the thing that the Chicago White Sox need to do. A bidding war could ensue. The Nationals are joined by the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Texas Rangers as teams with a strong interest in Chris Sale.

The Nationals starting their offer with Lucas Giolito and Victor Rojas resembles a strong return for the White Sox. If the Red Sox counter with an offer top overall prospect Yoan Moncado and No. 5 overall prospect Andrew Benintendi, the White Sox gets what they want — options.

Among those options for the Chicago White Sox is to complete the Chris Sale trade with the Washington Nationals. The White Sox would then remind the Red Sox that Jose Quintana is a top of the rotation pitcher, worthy of netting Benintendi and left-hander Jason Groome. Doing this would complete the Chicago White Sox reset in two trades.

[Featured Image by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]