In the time leading up to the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline there was rampant speculation one or more elite starting pitcher would be moved. Many believed the Chicago White Sox would trade Chris Sale or Jose Quintana, or the Tampa Bay Rays would deal from Chris Archer, Matt Moore or Jake Odorizzi.
Moore was sent to the San Francisco Giants, but the other remained put, in large part due exorbitant demands. Particularly in the case of Sale. The Los Angeles Dodgers were among the clubs interested in the left-hander, as well as the other aforementioned pitchers.
Naturally, the White Sox were said to be seeking a substantial return for their ace. In relation to the Dodgers, that meant including multiple prospects from the group of Cody Bellinger, Willie Calhoun, Jose De Leon, Julio Urias and Alex Verdugo.
Los Angeles ultimately decided the price was too rich for their liking. With Sale seemingly once again available, the White Sox’s demands haven’t decreased, per Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:
Hearing Chris Sale price tag still high. "Maybe even higher" than in july. Still, there's hope for a winter meeting auction
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 25, 2016
A recent report indicated the White Sox had interest in De Leon and Puig, plus others. It’s believed the Dodgers attempted to trade Puig to Chicago prior to the non-waiver deadline this season.
Sale, who will turn 28 years old in March, went 17-10 this season in 32 starts, with a 3.34 ERA, 3.46 FIP and 1.04 WHIP. He ranked second in the American League with 233 strikeouts.
He’s guaranteed $12 million next season and his contract includes a $12.5 million club option ($1 million buyout) for 2018, and a $15 million club option ($1 million buyout) for 2019. Sale’s 2019 option increases to $16 million should he win a Cy Young Award in 2017 or ’18.
His option previously increased from $13.5 million to $15 million by virtue of Sale finishing third in Cy Young voting in 2014.
Pairing Sale with Clayton Kershaw would provide a significant boost to the Dodgers rotation, but the club has resisted against depleting their crop of prospects under president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.