Washington Nationals Lose Chris Sale Sweepstakes
The Washington Nationals fell short to the Boston Red Sox in their pursuit of Chris Sale. How does the team regroup after a bad day?
The incredible offer by the Boston Red Sox to offer Yoan Moncada for no cost, stud pitching prospect Michael Kopech and two other prospects for Sale was a no-brainer. If the Chicago White Sox failed to make that trade, there would be tons of virtual ink spilled on how Kenny Williams was silly not to do it.
For the Nationals front office—and an army of fans who went to bed last night thinking this was a done deal—this is a massive blow. Reports on social media reported the deal as nearly final. If this was election night, it is the same as calling the Presidency for one person only to have an unknown win the next day.
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Boston had the parts and pieces to get the player of their choice. Most of the young core is playing at Fenway under friendly team controlled salaries. Spending prospects to score proven talent is a Dave Dombrowski specialty. And the Red Sox are major contenders to win the American League.
For Washington, trying to advance to their first World Series ever, offering the top starting pitching prospect in Lucas Giolito and outfield prospect Victor Robles was not enough. Reports show the White Sox leaked the Nationals offer to sweeten the deal.
The Nats lost and got played at the same time.
Now, the Nats still have those prospects and most of the team that won 95 games last year. Losing out on Sale does not mean they tank and flounder in the NL East.
In the eyes of casual fans, it makes the club look bad. The winter Meeting are minutes away from Nationals Park. Some boasted before they started Washington could land Chris Sale AND Andrew McCutchen. If they still want McCutchen, Mike Rizzo and company need to not overpay.
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Other teams know for sure Robles and Giolito are available. Last year at the trade deadline, they were not. Smart teams smell blood in the water.
The focus now should fix the need at closer first, then shipping salary to another team for an outfielder. If that means Bryce Harper plays center so Trea Turner can field at short, great.
Patience is the key. The season is months away, and it is too early to call the offseason a bust.
Still, this stings, even if starting pitching was not the top priority.