The Boston Red Sox, suddenly pleased with their starting pitching but not their bullpen, were interested in making a trade for Chris Sale and Jose Quintana before the deadline, although eventually the talks with the Chicago White Sox didn’t come to anything.
As the White Sox were losing momentum and quickly after a strong start to the season, the thought of beginning a rebuild crossed some minds. They didn’t put Sale and Quintana, their two best starting pitchers, officially on the trading block, but decided to listen to offers and see if anything good comes up. Sale was also having problems with the front office, this time going ballistic over uncomfortable throwback jerseys he decided to cut up, earning himself a inside-the-club suspension.
One of the reasons the deal didn’t go through for either pitcher was the Red Sox not putting Jackie Bradley Jr. in the package. Without a young but already proven major league talent, the White Sox weren’t letting go of two fantastic pitchers, who might command a very big deal in the offseason. If the White Sox go in that route, trading a starting pitcher in the 2016-2017 offseason is perfect, due to the weak market when it comes to rotation pitchers.
Bradley, 26, made his first All-Star game this season, establishing himself as one of the best young outfielders in the majors. He is batting .273 with a .851 OPS, hitting 21 home runs through 514 plate appearances. He is in the top 20 when it comes to baserunning (7 stolen bases doesn’t tell the whole story), and is also a fantastic defensive presence, ranked top five among center fielders in Defensive Runs Saved (nine), Ultimate Zone Rating (3.4) and UZR/150 (4.9). Making only $546,000 this season, he’s about to get a massive raise through arbitration, and he’s only eligible for free agency in 2020.
Both Sale and Quintana are underpaid too. Sale, 27, made his fifth consecutive All-Star game this season. He had a 3.14 ERA through 177.2 innings, and his 1.002 WHIP is the best in the American League, throwing 5 complete games so far. Quintana is also 27, also an All-Star this season. He has a 2.77 ERA, and the big difference between him and Sale shows up in the strikeout department. Sale makes $12 million next season, and $12.5 million in 2018 (team option) and $13.5 million in 2019 (team option), which sounds like a bargain for anyone who has him. Quintana makes $7 million next season, $8.85 million in 2018 and also hits two team options season’s: $10.5 million in 2019, $11.5 million in 2020.