White Sox ace pitcher Chris Sale had a good season. With trade talks looming, will the team he is traded to change his fantasy value for next year?
The Chicago White Sox rotation struggled mightily throughout the season. Things could get a lot worse during the offseason as the team could lose two of the five members of its starting rotation. The big name that is in trade talks is Chris Sale, something that has been talked about since August. If he is traded, how does that affect his value for the 2017 season?
Sale, despite the clubhouse drama, had a good season on the mound. He went 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 32 starts. Sale did suffer some drops in stats, specifically in his K/9. He went from an 11.8 to 9.3 K/9 in one extra start.
He was voting into another All-Star game and finished as the No. 20 player and No. 9 starting pitcher on the Player Rater. Posting 200-plus strikeouts and winning 17 games definitely helps his value.
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Even with his success, the White Sox were looking to shop Sale. He is owed $12 million in 2017, $12.5 million in 2018 and $13.5 million in 2018. Chicago is in a bit of a rebuilding period, so dumping his salary will free up a lot of space to bring in younger players.
When the White Sox mentioned the idea to trade Sale, they were asking for up to five top prospects or MLB-ready players.
At the time, the Boston Red Sox were teasing the idea of bringing in Sale. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers were also in preliminary discussion, but nothing surfaced.
As we know, Sale remained in Chicago and finished poorly, 3.59 ERA and 3-6 record. Now, the trade talks are picking up again.
The New York Yankees are rumored to be interested in Sale. The Yankees need help at starting pitcher and have the prospects to trade away. The Red Sox could get back into the picture during the Winter Meetings.
If Sale is traded to either one of these teams in the American League East, I think his fantasy value will actually remain the same. Those offenses are crushing the ball and the ballparks are made in the hitters’ favor. Looking at his 2016 splits, Sale excelled in those parks. He had a 0.94 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in five starts at the five AL East parks.
Throughout his career, he pitched greatly at those stadiums, too. Sale’s worst ERA in an AL East park is his 3.63 ERA in six games, three starts, at Fenway Park. If he can increase his strikeout rate and keep runners off base like he has, Sale will still be a top-10 starting pitcher.
While Sale is not a free agent, there will still be many teams targeting him in the offseason. The White Sox are going to want a haul in return. There are only a select teams that can offer Chicago that. I don’t think a trade will affect Sale, especially to a hitter-friendly division, as much as it would another starting pitcher.
Sale will be only 27 years old next March. He has a bright future ahead and both GMs and fantasy owners would love to have him on their team for years to come.