We’re still New Englanders, and having an instant negative response when it comes to a major Red Sox transaction is still part of our DNA despite all the success on Yawkey Way these past 12 years.
I mean, you’ve heard it already.
“They gave up way too much!”
“This is Adrian Gonzalez / Carl Crawford / David Price all over again!”
“Sale is an A-Hole! He’ll ruin the clubhouse!”
Those are some of the Twitter and sports radio narratives that were written in the early afternoon of Tuesday, Dec. 6 – a monumental day that will have an impact on the next 10 years of the Red Sox organization.
Maybe it’s the fact that almost all of these risky Sox trades and free agent signings are done during the cold, ugly winter months. Maybe that’s the reason for all the “yeah, buts.”
However, this one was an easy one.
If Chris Sale, regarded by many as the best pitcher in baseball, is available in a trade – you literally give up the farm for him every damn time.
As we’ve learned time and time again, baseball success is primarily about elite pitching, and suddenly the Red Sox have the best starting rotation in baseball.
Price is going to have a bounceback season in 2017 – bank on it. Rick Porcello is the reigning AL Cy Young award winner … not bad for a third starter. And Sale, who has never played on a team good enough to get to the postseason, will be laser-focused on leading the Sox back to October.
It is a risk that the Red Sox absolutely had to take, as there’s as good as chance that Sale turns out to be Pedro Martinez in Boston as there is that he turns out to be Price (who, by the way, still won 17 games last year).
Sale is not going to fall off the face of the earth. He has finished in the top six of AL Cy Young award voting in each of the past five years. Best of all, he’s 27-years-old and just entering his prime. He started the All-Star game for the American League this past season and he’s struck out over 200 batters each season since 2013.
Folks concerned that John Henry will now have to flip his $84 million yacht are in the clear too. Sale will be just the 39th highest paid starting pitching in MLB next season (according to ESPN) and the Sox have him under their control through 2019.
So money isn’t the issue here, as it was with Price last season. What this boils down to is whether or not you think giving up multiple players who COULD be great for a player who is ALREADY great is worth it.
Well, it is worth it. The Red Sox now have an opportunity for sustained success thanks to the Sale trade, and sustained success is something the Henry ownership has not yet enjoyed. It’s been a rollercoaster of high highs and low lows since 2002, but you haven’t been able to bank on the Red Sox to have a deep playoff run each and every season. The Sox went three years in between World Series appearances from 2004 to 2007 and then there was a six year gap between 20017 and 2013. Three World Series titles, but three dead last finishes.
This new Sox rotation (barring injury, of course) is recession-proof, and because of that they will have multiple shots at the crapshoot that is postseason baseball over the course of the next few years.
That is something to be happy about. Or … because I know you all too well – that’s something to at least not bitch about.
Yup, that’s it. “The Chris Sale Red Sox: Recession proof. Bitch-proof.”