The Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox made the biggest splash of the offseason thus far, completing a blockbuster trade Tuesday that sent Chris Sale to the Red Sox in exchange for top prospect Yoan Moncada, and prospects Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz.
The trade immediately puts the Red Sox among the favorites in the American League in 2017, as Sale joins a rotation that already boasts David Price and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, to go along with one of the best offenses in baseball.
Sale finished fifth in the Cy Young voting, as he went 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA, 3.46 FIP and 1.04 WHIP while striking out 233 and walking 45 in 32 starts this season.
The White Sox had been shopping the left-handed ace for the past year, with teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals, among others, showing interest at various points.
The White Sox made it clear that if they were to trade Sale, who still has three years remaining on a team-friendly, five-year, $32.5 million contract, that the haul of prospects in return would need to be significant.
What they got from the Red Sox in Moncada is an infielder who is considered the top prospect in all of baseball by many. The 21-year-old signed a record deal with Boston out of Cuba before the 2015 season, receiving a $31.5 million signing bonus.
Moncada split time between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland this season, batting .294/.407/.511 with 15 home runs, 62 RBIs and 45 stolen bases in 106 games.
He was called up to the Majors at the beginning of September, and went 4-for-19 (.211 batting average) in eight games.
Kopech, who was a first-round draft pick of the Red Sox in 2014, was their third-best prospect. The 20-year-old right-hander was 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 12 starts (56.1 innings) between Low-A and High-A in 2016.
Basabe, a 20-year-old outfielder, was the Red Sox’s eighth-rated prospect, and Diaz, a 22-year-old right-hander whose fastball consistently approaches 100 mph, was the organization’s 28th-best prospect.
With the trade of Sale, the White Sox may begin a complete rebuilding process, meaning quality players such as Jose Quintana and Todd Frazier may be next on the move. Frazier and Quintana are two players the Dodgers have also been linked to.
Though, Los Angeles is said to prefer re-signing Justin Turner to trading for Frazier.