MLB Trade Grades: Braves score rotation help in Chris Sale trade with Red Sox

Chicago White Sox v Boston Red Sox
Chicago White Sox v Boston Red Sox / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

Anyone who has watched Alex Anthopoulos operate for the Atlanta Braves front office had to believe that he had something cooking. But with how tight-lipped the organization is, it was always a question of what.

Now we know that he was working on a Chris Sale trade.

ESPN senior MLB insider Jeff Passan reported on Saturday that the Red Sox are sending the multi-time All-Star left-hander to the Braves, a move that gives Atlanta a high-risk, high-reward veteran with a ton of upside if he can stay on the mound.

Chris Sale trade details: Braves send Vaughn Grissom to Red Sox

Here's how the trade breaks down, according to Passan's report.

Sale Trade

One of the most prized pieces of the Braves organization, Vaughn Grissom, now goes to Boston and seemingly addresses a long-standing need in the middle of the infield, at second base particularly. Meanwhile, the cash being sent along with Sale is $17 million, per reports.

But did each team accomplish something positive with this move? Let's take a look as we grade the trade for both sides.

Braves trade grade: A-

Chris Sale is a seven-time All_Star who has finished in the Top 5 of Cy Young voting six times in his career. Unfortunately, injuries have been a major negative factor over the past five years in Boston, including missing the entirety of the shortened 2020 season while playing just 11 games in 2021 and 2022 combined.

Even still, Sale looked to be getting somewhat close to his former self at the end of last season and has still flashed in recent years when he's been able to pitch. The southpaw still has a devastating slider and, while his velocity has been conceringly inconsistent, when it's up, he's been a dominant force on the bump.

This move is a legitimately big swing for the Braves in trying to address what Anthopoulos has long said needed to be upgraded this offseason, the starting rotation. Sale may not be the ace he once was but, if Atlanta can help improve his durability and keep him on the mound, Sale would slot in nicely behind Spencer Strider and Max Fried in the rotation ahead of Charlie Morton and whoever claims the fifth starter spot, assumedly Bryce Elder.

Red Sox trade grade: A

Sale's injury woes have been just one of many issues with the Boston Red Sox rotation in recent years. It's been one of the worst rotations statistically in MLB, which has overshadowed an overall impressive offense and, more importantly, kept the Red Sox out of legitimate playoff contention.

Thus, new Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow was tasked with resetting the rotation, which this is a huge start of after also signing veteran Lucas Giolito. Perhaps more importantly, though, in getting out of the Sale contract and shuffling up the arms in the rotation to begin an overhaul, Breslow addressed one of the biggest needs for the Braves with Grissom, who has flashed at the major-league level already while still turning just 23 years old on Jan. 5.

Grissom can be an everyday second baseman for the Red Sox, a role they've struggled to find in recent years, and a problem that was exacerbated with Trevor Stroy missing the start of the 2023 season. Now, they can pair the two together in the middle of the infield and hopefully comprise a highly formidable duo in the lineup -- especially since Grissom has six full seasons of club control remaining.

The one cause for concern with Boston would be that they have to make more moves to improve the rotation, whether that's to sign Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, or someone else. Even still, this is a massive shift for the Red Sox, but one that needed to be made to get this organization out of its recent funk.

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