St. Louis Cardinals Rumors: Chris Sale, Just Do It

Curse to theme jerseys, Chris Sale could well be on the move and the St. Louis Cardinals need to be his new home.

Imagine the 2016 St. Louis Cardinals with a robust rotation; how different would the outcome have been?  This is not to say that the 2016 rotation was pitiful (albeit it had some poor performances, *cough* Mike Leake), but what would it have been like with a good number of aces?

Enter Chris Sale and the rumors rolling out of Chicago of him being on the move.  I ask that you take a minute and imagine this.  Think of the rotation of Carlos Martinez, Chris Sale, Alex Reyes… and then does it really even matter?

Joking aside, an addition of Sale would make the St. Louis Cardinals rotation the greatest to be feared in the NL Central.  Can it happen?  Sure, the organization has the cash and certainly the payroll space with recent departures.  Specifically, Matt Holliday would have cost the Cardinals $17M in 2017; Sale is owed $12M for 2017 and has $12.5M option for ’18 and a $13.5M option for ’19.

Let’s look at Sale’s numbers:

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G IP H ER HR BB SO FIP WHIP
2010 21 CHW AL 2 1 1.93 21 23.1 15 5 2 10 32 2.74 1.071
2011 22 CHW AL 2 2 2.79 58 71.0 52 22 6 27 79 3.12 1.113
2012 ★ 23 CHW AL 17 8 3.05 30 192.0 167 65 19 51 192 3.27 1.135
2013 ★ 24 CHW AL 11 14 3.07 30 214.1 184 73 23 46 226 3.17 1.073
2014 ★ 25 CHW AL 12 4 2.17 26 174.0 129 42 13 39 208 2.57 0.966
2015 ★ 26 CHW AL 13 11 3.41 31 208.2 185 79 23 42 274 2.73 1.088
2016 ★ 27 CHW AL 17 10 3.34 32 226.2 190 84 27 45 233 3.46 1.037
7 Yrs 74 50 3.00 228 1110.0 922 370 113 260 1244 3.06 1.065
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/17/2016.

Goodness, right?  Imagine adding this top-five-finisher in AL Cy Young voting for the past five years to the Cardinals rotation.  Just imagine that.  Want to know why I am so enamored by Sale? Here’s a comparison to Carlos Martinez’s numbers in 2016:

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G IP H ER HR BB SO FIP WHIP
2016 24 STL NL 16 9 3.04 31 195.1 169 66 15 70 174 3.61 1.224
4 Yrs 34 21 3.32 140 492.2 458 182 33 178 466 3.35 1.291
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/17/2016.

See the similarities?  News is surfacing that the St. Louis Cardinals are working on an extension for Martinez and rightfully so.  That said, adding another arm like Sale- an arm eerily similar to Martinez- would also make incredible sense.

Adding Sale, a lefty, would also make sense to replace the oft-injured, oft-up-and-down pitcher Jaime Garcia.  Garcia’s option was purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals if for value only and/or to protect starting rotation depth.  Garcia finished 2016 with a 4.67 ERA which would make Sale a marked improvement.

So, what would it take?  MLBTR has covered that the Nationals and the Braves are kicking the tires on this and that the Nationals recognize that the White Sox will require a good deal of prospects (yet they, like the Cardinals, are rich in prospects).  In the MLBTR Nationals article, it is said that the Nats would walk away from discussions should their super utility youngster, Trea Turner, were sought.

If this is what the Sox might seek, then let us propose this possible trade deal from the Cardinals to satiate their needs and send Sale to us.  I believe that the St. Louis Cardinals could land Sale should they offer Luke Weaver and maybe someone like Kolten Wong.

This might work and/or the Cardinals could sweeten the deal by adding other arms like maybe Garcia or Leake (doubt they would take this deal but I can dream).  The Cardinals could also shop Matt Adams to the White Sox as he could well spend time as their DH.  I believe that any of these options can make it happen.

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The St. Louis Cardinals have prospect depth and additional MLB talent to make a deal for Chris Sale.  Nike’s motto and brand is “Just Do It” and that is precisely what the Cardinals need to do.  Stay tuned as we learn if and where Sale will land.

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