The offseason is chugging along, and the Chicago Cubs have already made an abundance of moves via the free-agent market. This includes the signings of former Los Angeles outfielder Cody Bellinger, right-hander Jameson Tallion and superstar shortstop Dansby Swanson, just to name a few. While there hasn’t been much action for Chicago on the trade front, this could change in the blink of an eye.
On Sunday, Christmas Day, Jon Heyman of The New York Post said unnamed teams are checking in with the Red Sox about seven-time All-Star Chris Sale’s availability. According to Heyman, Boston “isn’t looking to trade any of their starters,” but they are “willing to listen and consider” offers. He also notes that Sale has a no-trade clause and can veto any deal.
With all things considered, it sounds incredibly unlikely that the Red Sox will trade Sale at all. However, it is certainly something to think about. Acquiring Chris Sale might sound enticing, but at the end of the day, the Chicago Cubs should stay wary of checking in on injury-plagued southpaw Chris Sale.
The Chicago Cubs should be wary of trading for Red Sox ace Chris Sale.
Chris Sale was among the best pitchers in the game during his time across town with the White Sox and in his early years with the Red Sox from 2012 to 2018. However, Sale signed a five-year, $145 million contract extension with Boston before the 2019 season, and that season was just the beginning of when things started taking a turn for the worst. The 33-year-old, who will be turning 34 in March, had a rather terrible 2019 going 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA.
He was put on the injured list in August of 2019 and has been plagued with injuries since. Sale got Tommy John surgery and was sidelined for the COVID-19-plagued 2020 season and most of the 2021 season. Over the past three years, Sale has barely pitched, making 11 total starts. Sale returned to the field in August of 2021 and did show flashes of his dominant self early on, posting a 3.16 ERA in nine starts.
But Sale faltered in the 2021 postseason, proving he is not the pitcher he once was. After that season, the hope was Sale would pitch an entire 2022 season. This did not happen either. The lefty landed on the IL as he suffered a right rib fracture before spring training. His return from the IL was delayed, but eventually, he made his season debut. Just one start after that, Sale landed on the IL once again, fracturing his left pinkie. This sidelined him for the remainder of that season.
When many hear the name Chris Sale, they think of the pitcher’s early years. There is no denying he was a superstar way back when, but now he is incredibly injury-prone and has barely pitched across the last three years. While the hope is that he is healthy going into spring training and through the 2023 season, nothing is guaranteed.
Sure, a trade for Sale would be worth it if he's healthy next season. But, looking back at the Chicago Cubs starting rotation last season and their injury woes, picking up yet another injury-prone starter for a large haul is not worth the risk. Plus, considering Sale's no-trade clause, chances are he would veto a proposed trade anyway.
All things considered, the Cubs are better off not making these Sale trade rumors a reality. But it will still be interesting to see how Sale performs and if he can stay healthy in 2023.