Role Reversal: Could White Sox Acquire Chris Sale?

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Sep 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) throws against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) throws against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aug 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) warms up before the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) warms up before the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

If White Sox were in the market for trading for the All-Star pitcher, would they be able to acquire him? What would a trade for the left handed pitcher look like for this team?

Let’s pretend for a second that Chris Sale isn’t on the Chicago White Sox.

What if the South Siders were one piece away from contention and Rick Hahn and company were looking to make a big splash. Would Chicago have what it takes to send ripples across the league or does their farm system simply lack the firepower?

I started thinking about this as a multitude of mock Sale packages cropped up on Twitter. The Hot Stove enables fans, bloggers, and pundits alike to put on their general manafger caps and draft hypothetical deals.

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As you may have learned, not all mock trade proposals are created equal. However, the exercise isn’t defined by a black and white judgement on what is too light and what is fair value. After all, it’s all in the eyes of the beholder and subjectivity even penetrates real world front offices.

Prospects have reached pinnacle value in today’s industry and it’s easy to see why. Organizations are finally realizing the surplus value potential offered by robust farm systems. It’s just that though, potential. Yet the speculative value of prospects hitting even their median outcome looks like the greatest way to be efficient in a market that generally isn’t.

Stockpiling young controllable assets is the best way to avoid shelling out $240 million for Robinson Cano. Free agency will simply never be an efficient way to construct a roster.

As such front offices have begun to treat prospects like their first-born and this mentality has trickled down to savvy fans who keep up with the farm and not just the household name already in the majors.

It’s easy for me to scoff when a Braves fan rails on social media about how Chris Sale isn’t even worth teenage phenom Kevin Maitan, much less six years of Dansby Swanson. This is a product of inherent attachment to young talent and a burgeoning separation anxiety associated with parting with it.

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