There are two National League teams in the Atlanta Braves, and Washington Nationals who are rumored to be interested in Sale. While each of these teams can present an enticing package to lure Sale away from the Sox, there could be another team that can do the same.
As the Cubs are coming off a World Series Championship, there are sure to be National League teams that would like to prevent them from returning to the Fall Classic in 2017. The Cardinals would certainly like to take the rivalry to the next level. They could do this with the addition of Sale. By adding to Sale to a rotation that features Carlos Martinez, the Cardinals could have the best one-two combo in the National League next season.
In order for the Cardinals to get Sale, they will have to pay a hefty price for the left-handed All-Star pitcher. The Cardinals have a nice farm system, and have the depth to pull off a trade for Sale. They wouldn’t have to empty their farm system, but they do have some intriguing players the Sox could inquire about in exchange for Sale.
The Cardinals top prospect could be sought as part of a package for Sale accordingto Craig Edwards at Viva El Birdos. Edwards listed a potential package that could be good enough to obtain Sale, and it included Cardinals top prospect Alex Reyes. The 22-year-old pitcher compiled a 4-1 record in 12 games (five starts) for the Cardinals this past season. Reyes ERA was 1.57 and he recorded 52 strikeouts to 23 walks for St. Louis.
If the Sox were to trade Sale this offseason, they will certainly look to get back a starting pitcher or two in return. Reyes is the seventh ranked minor league prospect according to mlbpipeline.com. The right-handed pitcher has swing-and-miss stuff, and could become a front line starter in a few seasons. In the same proposed package presented by Edwards, he included Michael Wacha, second baseman Kolten Wong and Cardinals prospect Harrison Bader.
Although Wacha had a dismal 2016, he could have a comeback season in 2017. Wacha went 7-7 with a 5.09 ERA in 24 starts for the Cardinals this past season. Wong, could give the Sox solid production at the second base position. Wong is a career .248 hitter in four seasons with the Cardinals. The 26-year-old has 45 career stolen bases, including 20 in 2014. The Sox could also use Bader, the Cardinals third top prospect. The outfielder hit .283 in 82 games for Double A Springfield Cardinals in 2016.
The Sox could add to its farm system major league team with the addition of Reyes, Wacha, Wong and Bader. But would the Cardinals be willing to part ways with Reyes? What would a trade not involving Reyes look like in order for the Cardinals to get Sale? Dr. Michael D. Miles of Redbird Rants believes the Cardinals could trade Wong, their second top prospect Luke Weaver, first baseman Matt Adams and a package of prospects for Sale.
If the Sox were to trade Sale to the Cardinals for Miles’ proposed package, I don’t think it would be enough. The Cardinals would most likely have to part with another arm in order to get Sale. The Sox could use Adams as its designated hitter, but he’s never hit more than 17 home runs in a season. Adams hit .249 with 16 home runs and 54 RBI’s this season for the Cardinals. Weaver, a right-handed pitcher went 6-3 in 12 starts for the Springfield Cardinals this season. The right-handed pitcher compiled a 1.40 ERA and recorded 88 strikeouts in Double-A.
The Sox could trade Sale to the Cardinals and receive a solid return. However, it might not be as strong of a return in comparison to what the Braves, Nationals or Los Angeles Dodgers could provide. The Cardinals would certainly bolster its starting rotation with the addition of Sale. But they might be reluctant to pay a hefty price for the pitcher.
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