Baseball’s Winter Meetings are coming to a close, and boy were there a ton of big moves to break down. Here are the biggest winners of the annual deal-making session.
MLB’s annual Winter Meetings are coming to a close in Washington, D.C., bringing an end to a hectic week of deals and rumors. The Chicago White Sox were the busiest team by far, trading Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, signaling that a full-scale rebuild is about to begin. Many of the biggest free agents remain unsigned, but several new contracts were handed out.
The trades that were made at the meetings outweighed the new contracts in terms of potential to impact the 2017 season, and several key names like Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo, Kenley Jansen and Jose Bautista remain unsigned. For now, we can only speculate on where they’ll end up, and if they’ll find the dollars they’re seeking.
5. Chris Sale
Chris Sale had one of the most intriguing years ever for a Cy Young candidate leading the league in complete games. He started things off right in spring training by getting in the thick of things during the Drake LaRoche batboy spat. Later in the year, he was sent home and eventually suspended by the team after cutting up an entire clubhouse full of throwback jerseys with scissors because he didn’t like the way the jerseys fit. Clearly, Sale and the White Sox front office didn’t see eye-to-eye about a lot of things last year.
After being traded to the Red Sox, Sale will finally get the chance to pitch for a contender and an organization with a clear focus. He becomes the ace of a staff that features David Price and the 2016 AL Cy Young winner, Rick Porcello. It won’t hurt Sale that the Red Sox have the best offense in the league. All the run support Porcello received last year was a big and overlooked key in his emergence as a 22-game winner.
If Sale hadn’t been traded, he probably would’ve said all the right things about staying in Chicago and working on winning there, but those words would’ve rung hollow. Sale is one of the fieriest competitors in the league, and he has to be over the moon about getting to pitch for the Red Sox, the early favorites to win the American League.