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White Sox deal Sale to Red Sox for top prospects

Reuters

(The Sports Xchange) - Chicago White Sox ace left-handed starter Chris Sale is headed to the Boston Red Sox for a package of prospects in a Winter Meetings blockbuster deal made on Tuesday.

American League East champions Boston acquired Sale for top infield prospect Yoan Moncada, highly-rated pitcher Michael Kopech and prospects Luis Basabe and Victor Diaz, the teams announced at Major League Baseball's meetings in Maryland.

Chicago finished 78-84 in fourth place in the five-team AL Central last season.

"When you trade a pitcher of Chris Sale's ability, it can only be because we were motivated by an impactful return of young talent, and we have more than accomplished that with Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement.

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"We believe each of these players can be part of a quality core of future championship caliber White Sox teams."

Sale, 27, is 74-50 with a 3.00 ERA and 1,244 strikeouts in 228 career games (148 starts), all with the White Sox. In 2016, he posted a 17-10 record and a 3.34 ERA with 233 punchouts over 32 starts.

The five-time All-Star joins forces with reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and former Cy Young recipient David Price in the Boston rotation.

Sale also was embroiled with controversy last season when he was scratched from a start and sent home after cutting up the team's throwback uniforms that he didn't want to wear. The White Sox suspended him for five days in the wake of the incident.

"We cannot thank Chris enough for all he has done and what he has meant for the White Sox organization since we drafted him in 2010," Hahn said. "We certainly wish he and his family all the best."

Moncada, a 21-year-old Cuban infielder widely viewed as the top prospect in baseball, struggled after making his major league debut in 2016, batting .211 (4-for-19) with one RBI in eight games with the Red Sox.

But he also was named by Baseball America as the 2016 Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .294 with 31 doubles, six triples, 15 home runs, 62 RBI, and 45 stolen bases over 106 games between Class A Salem and Class AA Portland.

Kopech, a 20-year-old right-handed pitcher, is the fourth-rated prospect in the Red Sox's system according to Baseball America. He has gone 8-7 with a 2.61 ERA over three minor league seasons.

Basabe, a 20-year-old outfielder, was Boston's eighth-ranked prospect, while Diaz, a 22-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic, was 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA with 17 saves over two seasons in the Red Sox system.

(Editing by Larry Fine)