The Red Sox have acquired White Sox ace Chris Sale for four prospects, including Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, Ken Rosenthal reports. The deal ends speculation that the Nationals could acquire the left-hander and add him to a rotation that already features Stephen Strasburg and 2016 National League Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer. As recently as last night, Rosenthal reported Washington was the front runner for Sale, offering top prospects Lucas Giolito and Victor Robles.
The 26-year-old Sale had been the most coveted pitcher on either the trade or free agent market. Since becoming a starter in 2012, he has finished in the top six of American League Cy Young voting every season, coming in fifth in 2016 after going 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA and 233 strikeouts. His value was enhanced by one of the most team-friendly contracts in baseball. He is under control next season for $12 million and then has club options for $12.5 million and $13.5 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
After the Red Sox signed him out of Cuba for a $31.5 million bonus in 2015, Moncada was ranked as a top-ten prospect in baseball by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and MLB.com coming into the 2016 season. The 21-year-old infielder hit .294/.407/.511 with 15 home runs in 491 plate appearances between High and Double-A. He was 4-for-20 with a double in eight major league games.
A first-round pick in 2014, Kopech was 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 12 High-A starts in 2016. BA ranked him 89th and BP ranked him 98th in all of baseball coming into 2016. The right-hander missed time after he fractured his right hand in a pre-season altercation with a teammate.
The Red Sox also gave up outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and right-handed pitcher Victor Diaz in the trade.