Chris Sale is Better Than Anyone Boston Could Trade For
Plenty of speculation has been taking place, as it always does in the days and weeks leading up to the trade deadline. Baseball fans everywhere take a look at teams likely to be selling, find players that they want from those teams, and start up rumors about what players their favorite team should be targeting.
For months now Red Sox fans have been clamoring for a new first baseman. That makes perfect sense. Bobby Dalbec has been a massive disappointment this season, and Marwin Gonzalez, Danny Santana, and now Franchy Cordero have been terrible. First base is the only true hole in the starting lineup, and it would be fantastic in Chaim Bloom could find an affordable rental.
Sox fans, however, have also been speculating about the team trading for a starting pitcher, specifically Max Scherzer. This idea I simply cannot understand, for multiple reasons. First of all, the price needed to acquire an ace-caliber starting pitcher is going to be extremely high, even if said pitcher is only under contract until the end of the 2021 season. Boston has finally developed enough prospects to have an above-average farm system, and it would be a shame to trade away quality prospects for a rental. If Boston were to go this route, they would need to win the World Series this season, or else they would have simply traded the future for nothing.
Secondly, and most importantly, Chris Sale is returning soon. People seem to have forgotten just how dominant Chris Sale has been throughout his entire career. In 2018, his most recent healthy season, Sale posted a 2.11 ERA over 27 starts, striking out 13.5 batters per 9, and lead the team to a title. His FIP that season was 1.98!
When healthy, Sale has been one of the most unhittable pitchers in all of baseball. Some rust will be expected, as is always the case with any pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery, but he should be back to his true form by the playoffs. No pitcher, and possibly no player, that Boston could trade for will provide as much value as will a healthy Chris Sale. The Sox currently have a starting rotation of Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Eduardo Rodriguez, Garrett Richards, and Martin Pérez. Add Sale and Tanner Houck to that list, and bump Richards and Pérez, and all of a sudden the rotation goes from ok to a huge strength.
The Red Sox could trade for a first baseman, and that would help the team tremendously. But Boston has Chris Sale coming back, shortly after Houck returned to the team. Those two are going to go a long way towards bolstering the rotation for the stretch-run. Chaim Bloom would be wise to let the rotation be, instead of trading important future pieces for a half-season rental.