The Boston Red Sox are officially loaded.
On Tuesday, the team traded four prospects to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for left-hander Chris Sale. The White Sox received infielder Yoan Moncada, right-handed pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz and outfielder Luis Basabe in the deal.
Sale, 27, has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball over the last few years. A five-time All-Star, he is arguably the toughest left-handed pitcher in the game to hit. Sale won 17 games with the White Sox this past season. He posted an ERA of 3.34 and also had an AL-leading six complete games. The best year of his career was in 2014 when he went 12-4 with an ERA of 2.17. Sale finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting that season. Although he has never won the award, he has finished in the top five in voting each of the past four seasons.
Now that the Red Sox have Sale, their starting rotation looks like it will be the best in the MLB next season. The team now has three aces with Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello. Price signed a seven-year, $217 million contract with the Red Sox last offseason. He struggled at points during his first season in Boston, but still managed to win 17 games. Price is a five-time All-Star who also has a Cy Young Award under his belt. Porcello was never really thought of as an ace before this year. However, he went 22-4 this past season and had a 3.15 ERA. This stellar season helped him win the 2016 AL Cy Young Award.
These three pitchers will give the Red Sox a three-headed monster at the front end of their rotation. Between Sale and Price, they have two of the top left-handed pitchers in the MLB. Porcello is an emerging right-hander who just had a dominant season. The back end of this rotation will most likely feature knuckleballer Steven Wright and either Drew Pomeranz or Clay Buchholz. It would make sense for the team to try and trade either Buchholz or Pomeranz. Because Buchholz has struggled over the past few seasons, Pomeranz would probably have more trade value. Keeping Buchholz would also ensure that the team has a solid balance of right-handed and left-handed starting pitchers. Whichever one is not traded will probably be the fifth starter in the rotation.
After trading for Sale, there is no doubt that the Red Sox are primed to win now. The team’s President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has made a lot of moves over the past couple of years. As a result, Boston has a championship-caliber team once again. Now the team not only has one of the best offenses in the game, but it also has a fantastic starting rotation. It’s now or never for the Red Sox.