Honestly, I can't believe I even need to write this article. Chris Sale is a top 5 pitcher in the entire league, and will most likely win the Cy Young in the American League. Even knowing this, people do not want to pay the Price for Chris Sale; for whatever reason.
Many people are having second thoughts about Sale after his incident with cutting up the throwback jerseys. It is understandable that you may have questions about his character after that ocurrence, but Sale is good enough for teams to ignore that. For the same reason that Belichick allows Gronk to continue partying and acting like an idiot, just like Sale, he is that good.
Sale is currently 14-3, with a 3.18 ERA. He has pitched in 133 innings so far this season, ironically, second only to David Price (135.2). In those innings he averages 7 innings per game, and 6.8 strikeouts per start. However, the most important part of his game is an intangible that this Red Sox team desperately needs; he's an ace.
Sale has the ability to go out every 5 days and shutdown even the best offenses in the league. Right now, that role is supposed to be filled by David Price, who couldn't even hold the Minnesota Twins to less than 5 earned runs last night. While Porcello and Wright have been good this season, neither has the intangible "ace" factor that we've seen with Lester, Pedro and Schilling.
Even more so after Saturday's game, it is no surprise that the Red Sox bullpen is struggling at the moment. With Kimbrel and Uehara out, the Sox are relying on pitchers like Heath Hembree and Tommy Layne to pick up the slack. It's not working out so well, especially for Hembree, who was optioned to Pawtucket after last night's game. With Sale averaging 7 innings a game, the Sox can avoid using those pitchers, and go straight to Ziegler in the 8th, and Kimbrel (when he's back) in the 9th. Sale's dominance and consistently long outings can help cover the bullpen flaws.
The question still remains: who would the Sox need to give up in order to get him? I recently ran a poll asking if you would trade Mookie Betts for Chris Sale; it did not go over well. The negative reaction was not a surprise, as Betts is a super star and beloved by everyone in Boston. Not wanting to trade him is very understandable, but the wrong decision.
Thinking back to the World Series victories of the past, the most memorable and important parts of those wins were the pitchers, not the outfielders. As spectacular as Mookie Betts is in the outfield, elite pitching is a lot harder to find than elite outfielding. As good as Betts is at the plate, this team can afford to sacrifice offensive production to add an elite pitcher.
With the addition of Sale, the rotation would consist of Sale, Price, Wright, Porcello and Rodriguez. A very respectable rotation added to the best offense in the league. Knowing that this offense won't be able to hit its way to a championship, you would have to imagine this addition would be good enough for at least an ALCS appearance.
I'm not saying the Red Sox are going to trade Mookie Betts, nor do I want them to. My point with that poll was to see what people were willing to give up for Sale. As much as it would hurt to see him go, Betts for Sale would be the right move for this team. Sale is worth it.
By Matt Watts