Today the Boston Red Sox took a big leap in bridging the gap between losing a 3 game sweep in the ALDS to the Cleveland Indians, and raising the organization’s 9th World Series trophy. After a disappointing end to last year, President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski went to work this morning and made some big moves, including unloading of young talent and prospects while keeping his payroll in check.
Starting yesterday the Red Sox opted to continue John Farrell contract, picking up his club option. Then around 11 am the Red Sox announced that they had traded Travis Shaw and two prospects for right handed set up man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee. The prospects were shortstop Mauricio Dubon and right-hander Josh Pennington, along with a potential future player to be named or cash. Shaw, who played a lot of 3B for the Sox last year when Brock Holt went down with injury, along begin spelled in at 1B or DH every now and then. Shaw originally brought a strong left handed bat to the lineup and a decent defensive play at 3B. However after not performing well last season, and salary that needed to be cut, or left open to make a big signing the Red Sox moved him. They picked up a key need in the bullpen that could have been the Sox biggest weakness last year. Thornburg should bolster a bullpen that still needs some work, but a strong eight inning man should allow the rest of the pieces to fall into place.
The other big trade of the day, could be the biggest of the offseason. The Red Sox acquired Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox. In return Chicago will receive Boston’s top two prospects, Juan Moncada and Michael Kopech. Moncada was the Sox number one prospect, by far their best hitter and probably their best fielder. While Kopech was their best starting pitcher prospect. There was also two addition prospects thrown into the mix. They did all this for the all mighty and powerful left hander Chris Sale but will it be worth it?
This trade could make or break the Red Sox for the next 10 years. It will be referred to and referenced as the fate of the team for a long time, good or bad. Either Sale pans out and the Sox elevate their play around him and they become a dominant contender for the next years to come, or the Red Sox gave away their future for a pitcher that was a bust and eventually leaves.
Sale is no doubt a good pitcher. He is also still young only 27. His stuff for a left hander is unmatched and his stats back it up. The past 5 seasons, he has been an all-star each year. Finished in the top 6 of the Cy Young voting each of those years, and his ERA has been 3.04 since becoming a starter. That is one of the best résumés in the league, however his play has gone under the radar due to the fact he has played for the White Sox. Sale’s 17 wins accounted for over 20% of the teams victories. At the beginning of the season through the first two months, Sale accounted for 2/3 of the teams wins. He has carried a bad team through the ups and downs.
Now Sale’s lefty arm will be heavily leaned on in Boston as well. He should receive more help this year, as the best offensive in the MLB will look to continue it’s success in 2017. Sale along with Price and the AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello is a dominant trio of starters that could lead the Red Sox to a 100+ win season. The issue will be once again performance in the postseason.
It is also worth mentioning that the Red Sox management said they were not seriously talking with 1B Edwin Encarnacion. The price tag is most likely too high despite his high production. He is most likely to stay in Toronto.
The Red Sox young core on the field and experience on the hill should look to carry them beyond the ALDS and hopefully at least winning a pennant.