After the New York Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs there has been speculation that the Yankees might turn around and make use of their prospect windfall to make a bigger splash. That bigger splash has been rumored to be Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale.
Acquiring two Top 100 prospects in Gleybar Torres and Billy McKinney gives the Yankees five Top 100 prospects. As soon as the deal was announced the rumors began to fly that the Yankees might make a run at Sale and indeed the Yankees have reportedly called and inquired about Sale. However, a deal for Sale most likely won’t happen.
Sale would be a prize for any team in baseball, especially those trying to make a run at the playoffs in the coming years. He is signed through 2017 with team options for 2018 and 2019 at affordable rates. His 2018 option would cost just $12.5 million and his 2019 option is for $13.5 million. That is a very affordable contract and takes him through his age 30 season. The White Sox would want a major haul for a pitcher of Sale’s quality and signed to such a team-friendly deal. That is the kind of haul that the Yankees, even with Torres and McKinney in the farm system, can’t afford to make.
To be sure, the Yankees could certainly use Sale. What team couldn’t? Even with his recent antics of cutting up alternative uniforms so the team wouldn’t have to wear them that caused him to suspended for five games he is still a part of the White Sox’s future. The White Sox’s shopping of their ace has not been confirmed by the team and has only been reported by the media so there is no reason to think that Sale is actively being shopped. That doesn’t mean the White Sox aren’t getting calls on their ace, however. A team would be stupid not to at least call GM Rick Hahn and see if they might make a deal. Alternatively, Hahn would be stupid not to at least listen.
The Chapman trade showed one thing, that this trade deadline might be very expensive for buyers and Sale won’t come cheap. It might cost upwards of four Top 100 prospects on top of other pieces. An affordable ace signed for several more years just doesn’t come cheap.
Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman should call Hahn, as he has done already, and see what it would take. However, a deal isn’t likely given the steep price the team acquiring Sale would have to pay. The Yankees are trying to retool for the future whether they want to admit it or not. They are also trying to stay competitive this season, a move that many fans are puzzled by. Sale’s cost in terms of prospects would be too steep for the Yankees who might already be overextended trying to keep their feet in both the rebuild and stay competitive pools.
The Yankees certainly lack an ace of Sale’s quality. They also are facing two offseasons where a ton of money comes off the books. Next year’s free agent group isn’t that good and the team would be foolish to use it to make up for their lost prospects.
Right now, the Yankees’ situation is such that they should avoid trading for Sale, even though he is better than any pitcher on their staff. There are just too many holes they must fill in the coming years and not until 2018 is there a free agent class worth investing in. If anything, the Yankees should seek to add more prospects in trades so that they can mix cost-effective homegrown talent with big free agent signings in 2018. Sale is one player the Yankees can’t afford to buy.