Trade Review: Chris Sale, CHW & BOS

Yoan Moncada, the key piece of the Chris Sale trade

At the 2016 Winter Meetings, the topic of a potential Chris Sale trade was prominent throughout the week. Eventually the Red Sox pounced, prying super star pitcher, Chris Sale, from the rebuilding White Sox. This was the first domino to fall in Chicago’s rebuild which included the White Sox dealing Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana, Todd Frazier, and David Robertson. The Sale trade got the White Sox the biggest return, landing them four pieces in total.

The Deal: December 6th, 2016

Red Sox Receive: Chris Sale (SP)

White Sox Receive: Yoan Moncada (2B/3B), Michael Kopech (SP), Luis Alexander Basabe (OF), and Victor Diaz (SP)

General Overview: After multiple unpleasant incidents between Chris Sale and the White Sox organization, many expected Sale to be dealt over the offseason. On his way to the Red Sox, Sale joined a rotation already featuring the likes of David Price, Rick Porcello, and Drew Pomeranz. Joining a winning organization was something Sale greatly desired, so all three parties were happy with the deal. The Red Sox got the ace they desperatly needed, while the White Sox got two top tier prospects and two lower end guys who they felt could step up as well.

Red Sox Overview: No matter how well any of the players the Red Sox gave up do, it is hard to argue that they will be more valuable than Chris Sale was for them. Sale was not the only star player on the team in 2018, but he was one of the main reasons they made it to the World Series. Though doing poorly in his World Series start, without Sale, it is unlikely that the Red Sox would have even made it as far. Giving up two top tier prospects is tough, but it is hard to compare that to a World Series victory. Unfortunately for Boston, Sale’s 2019 season has been about as disastrous as possible, starting the season with an ERA over 6.00.

White Sox Overview: In the return for Sale, the White Sox got a massive haul of young talent. Just after reaching the majors, Yoan Moncada was MLB Pipeline’s #1 overall prospect in all of baseball. After his arrival, Moncada starred in Triple-A Charlotte for the first half of 2017 until his promotion to Chicago. Things did not go great for Moncada as his batting average and strikeout rate both worsened after the jump to the majors. In 2018, Moncada played the entire season at the MLB level, showing his 5-tool abilities, but again struggled with his contact. So far in 2019, Moncada has been excellent, looking like a true #1 overall prospect. His strikeouts have fallen drastically, while his HRs and AVG are both well above his previous season’s. It is a bit to early to tell for sure, but it appears as if Moncada was well worth being the centerpiece for Chris Sale. If he keeps performing at this rate, the Red Sox will soon (if not already) regret parting with him

Michael Kopech, another top prospect at the time, was dealt as a 2nd headliner to pair with Moncada. His combination of a high 90s (up to 100mph) fastball and a devastating slider really caught the eye of White Sox scouts. After doing well in Double-A (2017) and Triple-A (2017/2018), Kopech finally got a taste of the majors at the back end of the 2018 season. After a dominating first three starts, Kopech got absolutely shelled in his 4th. A day later, it was discovered Kopech needed Tommy John surgery, sidelining him for 2018 as well as 2019. He is expected to be fully healthy by 2020, and will be a crucial part of Chicago’s rotation then.

Though not as highly rated at the time, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, may turn out to be the 3rd very good player the White Sox got. A switch hitting outfielder, Basabe was traded away from his twin brother, Luis Alejando Basabe, who also played in the Red Sox organization. Though both were viewed as similar level players, Luis Alexander took off upon his arrival in the White Sox organization, and has proved himself to be an important member of their rebuild.

Victor Diaz, the 4th and final piece of the deal has not been much of a factor at all. After the trade, Diaz pitched 12 inning of relief between Class-A and Class A-Advanced, combining for a disgustingly bad 12 walks, and a 14.25 ERA. Diaz has been sidelined since 2017 due to injuries, so he is hoping to bounce back later this year. It’s always hard to tell for sure, but it appears that Diaz will be a pretty irrelevant part of this deal, essentially making it a 3:1 deal.

Chris Sale pitching vs Orioles (9/20/17)

Player Grades:

Chris Sale: A

Yoan Moncada: A-

Michael Kopech: A-

Luis Alexander Basabe: B-

Victor Diaz: D

Winner: Chicago White Sox

Trade Review – Christian Yelich, MIA & MIL

Christian Yelich with the Milwaukee Brewers

Having been over a year removed from the Christian Yelich blockbuster trade, now is as good a time as any to look back upon the deal and see how things have been working out for both sides.

The Deal: January 25th, 2018

Brewers Receive: Christian Yelich

Marlins Receive: Lewis Brinson (OF), Isan Diaz (2B), Monte Harrison (OF), and Jordan Yamamoto (SP)

General Overview: At the time of the deal, Miami was in the middle of one of the biggest, most impactful rebuilds of the decade. Moving Yelich was more of a “when” as opposed to an “if”. Every talented player wanted out of the crumbling franchise. Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, AJ Ramos, and David Phelps are a few names dealt around the same time. The main focus of the organization was to bring in as many top prospects as possible to reboot their farm system with young talent. On the Brewers’ end of things, the playoffs were well within reach. The acquisitions of both Yelich and Lorenzo Cain greatly improved Milwaukee’s roster. Though Brinson, Diaz, and Harrison were ranked among the top 100 prospects by many experts, gaining Yelich seemed to be worth it for Milwaukee.

Brewers Overview: So far is seems as if the clear winner of the deal is Milwaukee. Yelich has performed at a legitimate MVP level since being dealt to the Brewers, while the prospects sent to Miami have not done anything that would make the Brewers regret the deal. Being on such a team friendly contract doesn’t hurt Yelich’s value either, making it seem like an even bigger steal for the Brewers. Hitting .326 with 36 HRs in his first season with the Brew Crew, Yelich is on his way to an even better season in 2019. While giving up 4 prospects has depleted their system of top tier talent, Milwaukee could not be happier with the way Yelich has performed.

Marlins Overview: The Marlins return in the Christian Yelich trade was extremely deep, and included 4 highly rated prospects. Outfield Lewis Brinson was the headliner of the deal, being ranked in the top 20 of almost all prospect rankings. Unfortunately for Miami, Brinson also appears to be the biggest bust of the deal. After a short time with Marlins minor league affiliates, Brinson made his Marlins debut in 2018 . Unable to even reach a .200 AVG within his first two seasons in Miami, he has struggled mightily at the plate, with an OBP of an alarming .241. While it is too early to declare the 24 year old a true bust, his performance can not be viewed as encouraging to Marlins fans.

Monte Harrison with Marlins Double-A affiliate, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in 2018

The second piece to the deal was Monte Harrison. Another speedy Brewers outfielder coming to the Marlins, Harrison had a superb 20+/20+ season before being dealt. In his first season in the Marlins organization, Harrison showed off his 5-tool abilities in Double-A Jacksonville, but had issues with a very high strikeout rate. Currently in Triple-A, the hope is that he can reduce his strikeouts while retaining his speed/power combination versus tougher competition. Harrison is currently the highest ceiling player acquired by the Marlins from their rebuild, so everyone in the organization will be sure to give him the assistance and coaching he needs to be as successful as possible.

Second baseman Isan Diaz was the third position player to be dealt during this trade. So far Diaz has not performed well for Miami, but he has also showed some signs that he may become another 5-tool guy for the Marlins. the real trend with these three position players was their 5-tool potential, with low floors and high ceilings. The expectation was that at least one of the three could become an elite “face of the franchise” to replace all the departed veterans, but so far that has not happened.

Jordan Yamamoto, RHP

Lastly, the only pitcher the Marlins acquired in this trade was Jordan Yamamoto. So far the Hawaiian native, Yamamoto, has pitched like an ace for the Marlins Class A-Advanced and Double-A teams. Posting a 1.82 ERA since the trade, he appears to have been the best part of the package. With a great WHIP and respectable strikeout numbers, the Marlins are hoping Yamamoto can surpass his lower expectations and become the best part of the deal.

Player Grades:

Christian Yelich: A+

Lewis Brinson: C-

Monte Harrison: B

Isan Dian: C+

Jordan Yamamoto: A

Winner: Milwaukee Brewers