Report: White Sox Asked For Gary Sanchez in Chris Sale Trade Discussions

The Chicago White Sox reportedly wanted a package headlined by Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez in return for their ace Chris Sale before the trade deadline.

Although nothing ever came of the Chris Sale trade chatter in the lead up to the trade deadline, the Chicago White Sox have not ruled out dealing their ace this winter after a disappointing 2016 campaign for the club. The Yankees were one of the teams in the mix before August 1st and some have speculated they could renew their pursuit this winter.

New York reportedly called the White Sox “multiple times” regarding the 27-year-old lefty who has been one of the American League’s best starting pitchers in recent years. Sale has made the AL All-Star squad each of the past five years and finished sixth or higher in four of the last five seasons.

By some metrics, Sale has been slightly less dominant than usual in 2016. His 3.41 FIP is good, but looks pedestrian next to his league-leading 2.73 mark from the previous season. He led all qualified starters in K/9 in both 2014 and 2015, but has only managed to strikeout nine batters per nine in 2016. Again, still solid, but definitely a mortal man’s K rate. 

Still, pairing Sale with current ace Masahiro Tanaka would have made the Yankees extremely dangerous down the stretch and put them in position to be the AL favorites for 2017.

The huge haul of prospects they landed by trading Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller gave them the best farm system in baseball. The question became whether the front office would be willing to cash in a number of their top chips for one pitcher with a delivery that makes my elbow hurt when I watch him on TV.

In the lead up to the trade deadline, it was reported that Chicago would not budge off of their demand for five top prospects in return for Sale. 

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Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball revealed that Yankees rookie sensation Gary Sanchez was at the center of trade talks between the two clubs, joking that the club had “good taste.” This was of course before Sanchez received his promotion to the big league on August 3rd and hit like 2004-era Barry Bonds for the next month.

This isn’t the first time that the White Sox have gone after Sanchez. In early July, George A. King of the New York Post reported that Chicago was interested in acquiring the 23-year-old to address their thin catcher situation. At the time, their starting backstop Alex Avila was on the disabled list with a hamstring injury and backup Dioneer Navarro was struggling at the plate.

According to King those talks ended because the Yankees price was “far too high.” It turns out that it was for a good reason.

After Sanchez’s big leagues success, it’s not crazy to ask whether he could be swapped for Sale straight up. The answer, of course, is no, but it’s not as far off as many may think.

Sale is under contract for $12 million in 2017 and then the White Sox hold a pair of $12.5 million options, each with a $1 million buyout, for 2018-2019.

Sanchez is making the league minimum and has six years of team control remaining. The 23-year-old catcher is just entering his prime years, while Sale is coming to the end of his, and may be one sore arm away from missing a season or two.

It will be interesting to see whether the Yankees decide to renew trade talks for Sale this winter. Their rotation picture looks even more unsettled now than at the deadline after losing both Nathan Eovaldi and Chad Green to elbow injuries.

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