In a series of trades Tuesday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox acquired Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale while parting with outfielder Luis Basabe and Victor Diaz, as well as rising Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada and pitcher Michael Kopech.
Despite losing Moncado and Kopech in the trade, acquiring Sale increased the Red Sox’s predicted chances of winning from a 9/1 favorite to an 11/2 favorite on Wednesday, according to Yahoo! Sports. The move helps the Red Sox close the gap behind the Chicago Cubs, who are now favored at 15/4.
The Red Sox’s odds of winning the 2017 World Series shot from 10/1 to 5/1 when the move was announced as well, according to ESPN reporter David Purdum.
“That’s a big one. That’s a blockbuster,” said New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman at baseball’s winter meetings regarding Sale’s trade, according to the Washington Post. “It was a ‘Wow.’ Obviously, they gave up a lot and they got a lot. Boston’s like the Golden State Warriors now in baseball.”
Despite his new drafting, Sale said he remains appreciative of the team that built him up. “(The White Sox) drafted me in the first round when people had questions,” Sale said. “They brought me up to the big leagues really fast and people probably had questions. They threw me in the rotation and people clearly had questions … They had my back a lot, and they gave me opportunities that not a lot of other people would have given me. I’m very thankful for that.”
“It didn’t work out the way we wanted it to in Chicago,” Sale said of leaving the White Sox, according to the Chicago Tribune, adding that the switch would be “tough”.
“That doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of great moments … You build a relationship with these guys and they are like family,” Sale said. “You are around these guys probably even more during the year than you are around your family. It’s tough. But knowing what lies ahead makes it a little bit easier for that transition.”
Sale reported that Red Sox member David Price has already reached out to him to welcome him to his new city.
The strong lineup on his new team will help promote competition, Sale suggested in a conference call according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Regardless of who’s pitching on what night, the next night we have as good if not a better chance, all the way down the line,” Sale said. “It takes some pressure off of everybody. Just pitch because you don’t feel like you have this huge weight on your shoulders to win this game, for sure, 100 percent.”
“I’ve always loved going to Boston, pitching in Boston,” he added, according to NESN. “It’s a trip that my wife comes on every year, as well. So, we both really like the city and the stadium obviously is a very special place.”
Fenway Park, where the Boston Red Sox play, is a very different field from the Guaranteed Rate Field Sale was playing on. The former was rated the fourth-most hitter-friendly park, while the latter ranked 21st, a broad difference to cope with for a pitcher. According to the Washington Post, of three starts Sale pitched at Fenway, one was a disastrous attempt.
President of Red Sox baseball operations Dave Dombrowski indicated he had little regrets in making the trade for Sale, according to the Boston Herald. “Nothing is guaranteed in life. You don’t even make these moves, and it doesn’t mean that you’re going to win by any means, but I think you keep taking a chance and going for it as much as you possibly can and hopefully it works for you some day,” he said. “Every one of these moves made us better. Because of the strength of the system that people built and because of the young players that we still have, I think we’re still strong for many, many years.”
[Featured Image by Mark Duncan/AP Images]