(Baseball Prospectus) (CBS Chicago) (MLB.com)
AAAAAAAAAAAH, HE DID IT! Dave Dombrowski has officially cemented his way into Red Sox galore forever with the course of these past few hours. This morning, the Red Sox traded 3B/1B Travis Shaw, and number 10 organizational prospect, SS Marcio Dubon, to the Milwuakee Brewers in exchange for RHP Tyler Thornburg. Dombrowki came out, following the trade, and said that the Red Sox are set on their bullpen as currently constructed. Which means no Ziegler, Uehara, or Tazawa... we can assume.
I wasn't too familiar with Thornburg, with him being in the face of irrelevancy with the Brew Crew, but I checked his numbers and all I can say is "WOW!" Thornburg finished 2016 with a 2.15 ERA, a WHIP of .94, and 90 strikeouts in 67 IP. He's got a mid-upper 90s fastball and a wipeout breaking ball that he uses to get righties out and lefties.
You know what that means? No more Craig Kimbrel in the 8th. That role is now filled, and the Sox bullpen now looks like it is going to be a force in 2017. Remember Carson Smith? He'll be healthy next year. Remember how great Joe Kelly was in relief? Yeah. The pen is set. Even with a revolving door at lefty specialist between Abad, Robbie "the Lawnmower" Ross Jr., and Robbie Scott.
However, just a few hours ago, Dombrowski and the Sox came back from the dead to pull off the blockbuster that has MLB analysts raving over this trade for Boston. The Red Sox dealt Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and 2 lesser-known prospects to the White Sox in exchange for, none other than, Chris Sale. I can't believe it. He fooled us all, saying he liked the rotation as currently constructed with the 6 arms they had. But to add a guy like Chris Sale, under a team friendly deal, without having to give up JBJ or Andrew Benintendi, is a total steal and Sox fans should be happy with this trade.
So what's next for the Sox?
Well, now they have 7 starters, 4 lefties (excluding Henry Owens from both), on the current roster. You'd have to think that someone is about to be moved. My guess is it's either Clay Buchholz or Eduardo Rodriguez (another guy who was surprisingly not included for Sale). E-Rod still has a ridiculous ceiling that could entice teams (like the Royals?) to give up other really reliable relief pitchers, or even prospects if they're really high on E-Rod. As for Clay, contrary to injuries and a bad first half of 2016, he's really had a successful career, and provides a veteran guy who eats up innings to a rotation vying for playoff contention. Could see teams like the Cardinals, Nationals, or even the Royals, overspend for a guy like Clay.
Trading Clay also could put the Sox RIGHT back in the running for Edwin Encarnacion. One must think DD knows what he's planning now. Trading Clay for any sort of prospect frees up about $13.5 million of salary space. The Sox could deal Clay and sign a guy like EE and still be under the luxury tax of $195 million. It can happen, I'm optimistic again.
Stay tuned for more updates: also check out the The Hot Corner Podcast this week where we go more in depth about these trades for Boston.
Truck day can't come soon enough. Let's @$*(ing have it! Go Sox!