After a rift between Chris Sale and the White Sox, their decision to keep him could pay dividends in the future
The trade deadline has long past and Chris Sale is in Chicago. A disagreement over jerseys landed the left-hander a five-day suspension. Then, many thought the team would simply move on and get a huge return. However, the organization stood pat and still have their ace. This was probably the best move.
You will struggle to find many left-handed pitchers more consistent than Sale. He leads the league in complete games and his 3.8 WAR ranks him eighth in the American League. He also ranks fourth in walks and hits per inning pitched at 1.039. Not to mention he represented the White Sox in the All-Star game the last five years and has one of the best contracts in baseball. His 14-6 record and 3.30 ERA don’t really tell how dominant he has been this season.
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He is 0-3 in his last five starts but he definitely pitched well enough to win two of those. The bullpen let him down, and he hasn’t gotten much run support. Ask Jose Quintana how that feels. The fact remains unless you’re getting at least five top prospects for him, it’s just not worth trading Sale. The White Sox will not find another lefty like Sale.
The argument for trading Sale, however, is valid. The White Sox could definitely add enough talent to rebuild their system. However, this doesn’t get them closer to putting a winning product on the field. Starting pitching is one of the few areas they have some talent, pairing Sale with Quintana and Carlos Rodon, who had another great outing against Cleveland on Thursday. The last thing this team needs is to have to worry about starting pitching, as well.
The front office did a good thing by keeping Sale. The issues run deeper than the players because they do have some talent. If they can add a left-handed power hitter and plug their holes in the outfield and at catcher, they can compete. Now, if this time next year the White Sox are six games under .500 and 12.5 back in the division, then by all means trade him. Until then, I’m holding onto Sale in hopes a good offseason can turn the team around.