A couple weeks ago, I wrote some suggestions on how to stay sane during the offseason. Following the MLB winter meetings was at the top of the list, despite my prediction that the Sox would be fairly quiet aside from potentially signing a new bat. Wrong again, Molls. Monday came and went, with Dave Dombrowski laying low, and the Red Sox not making any moves. And then Tuesday came, and Dombrowski lit the whole stove on fire.
I woke up at 9:31 Tuesday morning, realizing immediately I had missed my mandatory philosophy exam review. For a second I felt bad, until I checked Twitter and saw something that made me feel much worse.
Travis Shaw had been sent to Milwaukee in exchange for relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg. Along with Shaw went two prospects: infielder Mauricio Dubon and pitcher Josh Pennington.
I was sad at first. Despite Shaw’s numbers last year, he was someone I really enjoyed having on the team. I felt a little more positive after checking out Thornburg’s numbers, and then it finally hit me: Pablo Sandoval was now looking like our main candidate for third base. Okay, maybe he’d have some competition, as top prospect Yoan Moncada would hopefully work his way back up to the majors at some point during the season. Oh no, wrong again, Molls.
Fast forward a few hours later, I’m in class scrolling through Twitter, mourning the loss of Shaw and tearing up at Brock Holt’s sappy goodbye tweet. Then I reached Ken Rosenthal’s most recent tweet, “BREAKING: Sale to #RedSox.” I immediately left class so I could stare at my phone and make sure what I was reading was real. Chris Sale, the multiple Cy Young Award candidate, who holds a 3.00 career ERA, 1.065 WHIP and 1,244 strikeouts, was now a member of the Boston Red Sox.
The second half of the tweet is what stung, like we all knew it would. The Sale deal was possible as we gave the White Sox three top ten prospects in Yoan Moncada (No. 1), Michael Kopech (No. 5), Luis Aleander Basabe (No. 7) and Victor Diaz (No. 21).
Red Sox Nation reacted immediately, the majority of who seemed to be thrilled at the addition to our rotation. Others thought we gave up too much. To start off, this could be considered a steal if you look at some of the names Chicago tossed around earlier this year. Sale to the Red Sox could have involved some combination of Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, etc. Getting rid of some of baseball’s top prospects is certainly not good news, but what we get in return makes it worthwhile. In this case, Boston gets Chris Sale under team control until 2020.
You can go back and forth on this one, arguing that trading a good portion of the farm system will end up hurting the team in the long run, as the prospects could tear up the league elsewhere in years to come. The fact of the matter is you can’t measure a player’s future performance. In terms of potential, are all of these prospects that Boston traded looking to be very promising players? Yes. But who’s to say that they would necessarily stay in Boston’s organization? If not this year, it could be next year that they’d be leveraged into some other deal.
The entire point of the system isn’t to snag players and keep every one of them forever. Some players work their way through a team’s system and make it into the majors, while others are used for leverage, to obtain players a team needs at that very moment. Let’s also not forget that the Red Sox will still be drafting new guys in coming years. You draft, you trade, you give and you take.
As of right now, I’m thinking about the immediate future, that being the 2017 season. The immediate future gives me a starting rotation of David Price, the current Cy Young recipient Rick Porcello and Chris Sale. And I am more than happy with that. Let’s have it.
Molly Burkhardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.