Making the case for Chris Sale

Let me preface this article by saying this is certainly a long shot. But in a season full of ups and downs (mostly downs thus far), Yankee fans cannot help but wonder if Brian Cashman and the Bombers have a legitimate shot at landing one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball.
Photo via the Associated Press
Over the last few weeks, possible trade scenarios have been thrown around for White Sox pitcher Chris Sale as we edge toward the August 1 trade deadline. Sale is an interesting target on the trade market because he’s only 27-years-old with two more years left on his fairly cheap contract including club options for both 2018 and 2019. The 6’6” lefty has a 71-43 record with a 2.95 ERA and a WHIP of 1.06 over his MLB career. If the Yankees could land such an elite arm you have to wonder if it would make them immediate contenders. As of July 28, the Yankees are 52-49 and 7-3 over their last 10. They are currently six games back in the AL East and only four games back in the Wild Card which is certainly attainable for a Yankees team that is yet to reach its potential this season. John Heyman reports that the Yankees have recently called to inquire on Chris Sale and that the asking price currently sits at five top prospects.

After the Yankees recent trade with the Chicago Cubs in which they acquired three prospects for rental Aroldis Chapman, New York certainly has what it would take to land an elite arm like Sale.

The Yankees currently have five of the MLB’s top 100 prospects in Gleybar Torres (26), Jorge Mateo (27), Aaron Judge (32), Gary Sanchez (39), and Blake Rutherford (64). Now, I know Yankees fans have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Mateo, Sanchez, and especially Aaron Judge who has drawn comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton, but you have to wonder if Chris Sale would be worth it for a franchise that is desperate to get past the ALDS for the first time since 2012.

The Prospects
1. Certainly the most intriguing prospect that would be involved is OF Aaron Judge. Sure he’s got crazy amounts of talent and potential, he could be great, or he could never reach his potential. Currently Judge is batting .261 with 16 HR, 54 RBI and an OBP of .357 for triple-A Scranton. Fortunately for the Yankees, MiLB OF Tyler Austin has had a great season for the Yankees in Triple-A batting .323 with 12 HR and 41 RBI in only 45 games. Both Judge and Austin are 24-years-old so giving up Judge for Sale wouldn’t be entirely crazy if Tyler Austin can continue to produce.

2. With the acquisition of Gleybar Torres from the Cubs earlier this week, Jorge Mateo has certainly become more available. Mateo is 21-years-old and currently batting .256 with six homers and 28 SB in advanced Single-A ball.   The 19-year-old Torres is hitting .275 with nine home runs and 47 RBI. Since they are both shortstops, the Yankees should certainly think about including Mateo in a deal for Chris Sale. Mateo won’t be ready for another year or two at the very least while Chris Sale adds immediate help to this Yankees team. Both Torres and Mateo are SS which makes sense that the Yankees would shop one of them at some point.

3. Luis Severino is an interesting trade piece the Yankees could include in a Chris Sale bundle. After Severino’s brief MLB stint in 2015, the majority of Yankees fans expected him to immediately step in and make in impact in 2016. Sevvy has struggled mightily so far this season going 0-6 with a 7.05 ERA before heading to the DL and then being optioned to triple-A. Severino is only 21 and still has a lot to figure out, but based on what we saw in 2015 it seems imminent he will one day be a top of the rotation starter. Chris Sale on the other hand is an established ace and he and Tanaka would pair for a lethal 1-2 punch atop the rotation.

4. Jacob Lindgren is an interesting possibility. The 23-year-old LHP made his MLB debut last season and finished 2015 throwing seven innings with a 5.14 ERA, certainly a small sample size. The Yankees have a solid amount of arms in their minor league system including Domingo Acevedo, James Kaprielian, Chance Adams, Ian Clarkin, Drew Finley, Jordan Montgomery, and Chad Green. With the overflow of solid arms in their minor league system, this certainly makes the young lefty expendable if it helps reel in Chris Sale.

5. Lastly, the Yankees should package newly acquired OF Billy McKinney in hopes that it is enough to complete the blockbuster deal. I actually had the privilege to play with McKinney several years back in a scout league.  At the age of 17 scouts were gawking over his incredible bat control and his mammoth power. Currently the 21-year-old out of Dallas, TX is yet to hit his stride while batting .252 with only one dinger and 31 RBI at the Double-A level. Blake Rutherford, the Yankees first round pick in this year’s draft is only 19-years-old but is already the five prospect in the Yankees system. Having a guy like Rutherford whose sky is the limit certainly gives the Yankees options to shop a prospect of McKinney’s caliber if it yields the right return.

So, the final trade would look like this:
Yankees Get: LHP Chris Sale
White Sox Get: OF Aaron Judge, SS Jorge Mateo, RHP Luis Severino, LHP Jacob Lindgren, OF Billy McKinney

I know, I know- you farm system activists are probably ready to crucify me. But this is certainly something worth considering. The asking price for Chris Sale is monumental, as it should be, but I think the Yankees have the minor league depth to be able to afford such a huge deal. Sale is a certainly a game changer and what makes him that much more intriguing is his controllable contract at a bargain price. If the Yankees keep Andrew Miller, they suddenly have a solid rotation with a shutdown bullpen. If they decide to sell on Miller, their return will be COLOSSAL and they can still slot Dellin Betances as their closer who would probably be the closer for 99% of teams in the MLB. As BBB writer Sammy Criscitello published earlier in the week, making a move for Sale would be similar to the Rangers acquisition of Cole Hamels at the deadline last season. Texas gave up a lot but it has provided immediate results for them and they currently sit atop the AL West with the rotation led by Hamels and Darvish. The Yankees would have a very similar 1-2 with Sale and Tanaka.

Is it crazy? Absolutely. Would it be worth it? I think so. Let’s see what the Yankees do over the next few days leading up to the deadline.

Article by: Aaron Carroll
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