Red Sox Acquire All-Star Starter Chris Sale from White Sox

AP Baseball Writer=
       OXON HILL, Md. (AP) _ All-Star ace Chris Sale is joining the reloading Boston Red Sox, leaving behind his shredded reputation with the Chicago White Sox.

        Boston acquired Sale on Tuesday for a package of four prospects, including high-priced Yoan Moncada.

        Sale was a top trade target at the winter meetings and the AL East champion Red Sox were getting him instead of Washington, which also pursued.
        A few hours earlier, Boston got prime setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee. After that deal was announced, without tipping his hand, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said: “We’re trying to win now, as you can see.”

        Boston acquired Sale for minor league pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz, outfielder Luis Basabe and Moncada, a third baseman.

More info on Red Sox news release…

BOSTON, MA – The Boston Red Sox today acquired All-Star left-handed pitcher Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for four minor league players: right-handed pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz, infielder Yoan Moncada, and outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe.

President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski made the announcement.

Sale, 27, has finished in the top six in American League Cy Young Award voting in each of the last five seasons (2012-16), as well as in the top 20 in AL Most Valuable Player voting in each of the last two (2015-16). The five-time All-Star (2012-16) went 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA (84 ER/226.2 IP) in 32 starts in 2016, leading the major leagues with six complete games and ranking among AL leaders in innings (3rd), strikeouts (T-2nd, 233), ERA (9th), opponent batting average (5th, .227), opponent OPS (7th, .651), and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3rd, 5.18). Born in Lakeland, FL, Sale attended Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, FL, where he currently resides.

Sale was 7-0 with a 1.52 ERA (9 ER/53.1 IP), a 0.81 WHIP, and a .180 opponent batting average in seven starts against the AL East in 2016, including 5-0 with a 0.94 ERA (4 ER/38.1 IP) on the road. In 21 career appearances (15 starts) at Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium, Rogers Centre, and Tropicana Field, he has posted a 1.85 ERA (23 ER/111.2 IP) with 123 strikeouts, 31 walks, and only seven home runs allowed.

Selected by the White Sox in the first round (13th overall) of the 2010 June Draft, Sale is 74-50 with a 3.00 ERA (370 ER/1,110.0 IP), 1,244 strikeouts, and a .224 opponent batting average in 228 major league appearances (148 starts) over seven major league seasons (2010-16), all with Chicago. He has posted a 3.41 ERA or lower each year, including a 2.17 mark over 26 starts in 2014. Among active pitchers who have thrown at least 1,000.0 innings, Sale’s 3.00 career ERA ranks first in the AL and third in the majors behind only Clayton Kershaw (2.37) and Madison Bumgarner (2.99).

Since converting to a starting pitcher prior to the 2012 season, Sale has recorded at least 10 strikeouts in a game 35 times, most in the AL and third-most in the majors behind Max Scherzer (43) and Kershaw (36). He has averaged 10.04 strikeouts per 9.0 innings as a starting pitcher, the fourth-highest mark by any starter (minimum 750 innings) in the live ball era (since 1920) behind only Randy Johnson (10.57), Stephen Strasburg (10.55), and Kerry Wood (10.33). His 274 strikeouts in 2015 led the AL and set a White Sox single-season record, marking the third of four consecutive seasons he has eclipsed 200 punchouts.

Kopech, 20, made 11 starts for High-A Salem and one for Short-A Lowell in 2016, going 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA (13 ER/56.1 IP), 86 strikeouts, and a .156 opponent batting average between the teams. He was also named to the Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Team after going 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA (5 ER/22.1 IP) in six starts for Surprise. Following the regular season, the right-hander was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 4 prospect in the Red Sox farm system, as well as the organization’s top-pitching prospect. Selected by Boston in the first round (33rd overall) of the 2014 June Draft, Kopech has gone 8-7 with a 2.60 ERA (39 ER/135.0 IP), 172 strikeouts, and a .198 opponent batting average 36 career appearances (35 starts).

Diaz, 22, spent the entire 2016 season with Single-A Greenville, leading the Drive in appearances (37) and going 2-5 with 10 saves and a 3.88 ERA (26 ER/60.1 IP). Named Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Month for August/September, the right-hander did not allow a run in his final 16 appearances of the season beginning July 12, recording 31 strikeouts in 23.2 innings during that time. Signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent on December 12, 2014, the Dominican Republic native made his professional debut in 2015 when he went 6-1 with a 1.38 ERA (5 ER/32.2 IP) in 21 appearances—all in relief—for the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League Red Sox.

Moncada, 21, was named Baseball America’s 2016 Minor League Player of the Year after batting .294 (119-for-405) with a .407 on-base percentage, a .511 slugging percentage, 31 doubles, six triples, 15 home runs, 94 runs, and 62 RBI between High-A Salem (61 games) and Double-A Portland (45 games). Also tabbed Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, the Cuban native led Red Sox minor leaguers with 45 stolen bases in 2016 and was named MVP of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on July 10 at Petco Park. Signed by Boston as an international free agent on March 12, 2015, Moncada also made his major league debut this past season and appeared in eight games, with all four of his starts coming at third base.

Basabe, 20, was named a South Atlantic League postseason All-Star in 2016 after batting .264 (112-for-425) with 26 doubles, nine triples, and 12 home runs between Single-A Greenville (105 games) and High-A Salem (five games). He also stole a career-best 25 bases in 30 attempts, scoring 66 runs and driving in 53. Following the season, he was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 8 prospect in the Red Sox farm system, as well as the organization’s best defensive outfielder. Signed by Boston as an international free agent on August 26, 2012, Basabe has batted .253 (281-for-1,109) with 21 home runs, 73 stolen bases, and a .762 OPS in 298 career minor league games.