Chris Sale Rumors

Orioles Trade Targets: Byrd, Oliver Perez

The Orioles currently stand to take the second wild card spot in the American League, and they've already bolstered their pitching staff with the additions of Scott Feldman and Francisco Rodriguez.  Here's the latest on their trade targets, courtesy of Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun:

  • Connolly feels the Phillies' Michael Young is the best fit for the Orioles at DH, but the team hasn't made an aggressive push for him at this point.  Connolly expects Young to go elsewhere if traded.
  • The Orioles are interested in the Mets' Marlon Byrd.  However, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes today that Byrd is "highly unlikely" to be traded.  Connolly also believes Mariners lefty reliever Oliver Perez is the most likely player to be acquired by the Orioles.
  • Connolly says to forget about Cliff Lee and Jake Peavy.  Instead, the O's have coveted the Astros' Bud Norris and Chris Sale of the White Sox.
  • Connolly expects the Orioles to pass on the Twins' Justin Morneau.
  • Orioles minor leaguers Mike Wright, Tim Berry, and Christian Walker have piqued teams' interests.
  • Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette feels he has the money and prospects to make a deal, if the right one comes along.

AL Central Notes: Tigers, Sale, Tribe, Royals

Much of the chatter from the AL Central has centered around Jake Peavy of the White Sox. You can catch up on Monday's Peavy rumors here, but there's still plenty of other trade talk surrounding the division. Here's the latest out of the AL Central with less than 48 hours until the trade deadline…

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post spoke with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, who told Sherman that the club's acquisition of Jose Veras earlier today will likely be the lone move he makes prior to the deadline (Twitter link).
  • Meanwhile, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Tigers have maintained trade dialogue with the Giants, even after the Veras acquisition.
  • The White Sox are still telling teams that ace Chris Sale is not available in trades, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
  • MLB.com contributor Joel Hammond conducted a Q&A with Indians GM Chris Antonetti regarding the upcoming trade deadline. Antonetti conceded that the bullpen needs to get better at retiring left-handed batters and also discussed how changes in the newest CBA have impacted the summer trading process. Antonetti told Hammond that August might now represent a better opportunity to acquire players, as there will be more separation from bubble teams who aren't sure whether to buy or sell in July.
  • Jeffrey Flanagan of FOX Sports Kansas City examines the roadblocks that would get in the way of the Royals acquiring Howie Kendrick or Erick Aybar from the Angels. Both members of the Halos' double-play tandem are reportedly on the market, and either could fill the Royals' gap at second base. However, the prospect price tag and salary implications are difficult to overcome, Flanagan notes.
  • The Royals scouted the Twins in their recent series against the Mariners, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Berardino doesn't list specific names, but remember that Twins GM Terry Ryan didn't mind dealing within the division last summer when he sent Francisco Liriano to the White Sox.

White Sox Notes: Sale, Reed, Thornton, Lindstrom

If Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports were in charge of the White Sox, he would make Chris Sale available via trade.  With an incredibly thin starting pitching market, some smart team is going to capitalize and put a top-of-the-rotation hurler in play and the White Sox should be that team.  Some in baseball believe Sale can be had but one GM on the lookout for a starter says that he has had numerous conversations with Rick Hahn, and Hahn never once has mentioned Sale.  Sale is only 24 and is in the first year of a club-friendly, five-year, $32.5MM contract that includes club options of $12.5MM for 2018 and and $13.5MM for ’19.  Here's more on the White Sox..

  • The Red Sox are looking everywhere for relief help and are interested in White Sox relievers Addison Reed, Matt Thornton, and Matt Lindstrom, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
  • The White Sox have been asking for major-league ready or near-ready prospects in their trade talks, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) suggets five blockbuster trades for teams, including a swap between the White Sox and Pirates.  Bowden's hypothetical has Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez heading to Pittsburgh for outfielder Gregory Polanco, pitcher Nick Kingham, and shortstop Jordy Mercer.  Bowden reasons that the deal will give the White Sox an excellent prospect in Polanco while allowing them to get younger and free up dollars.


AL Central Notes: Sox, Morneau, Willingham, Twins

The latest out of the American League Central…

  • Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com spoke with a league source who confirmed Jon Heyman's report from earlier this week that the White Sox are open for business, with the exception of Chris Sale and Paul Konerko. Hayes' source said that in the event the Sox were to make Sale available, he'd fetch an even larger haul than the Padres received for Mat Latos.
  • The Twins have begun to receive phone calls on Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Morneau is a free agent at season's end, while Willingham is owed $7MM in 2014.
  • The Twins will not be in attendance for Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez's showcase in Tijuana tonight, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link). The Twins have seen Gonzalez "a ton" already, he adds, noting that his price tag makes him a long shot for Minnesota.
  • Indians minor league right-hander Dillon Howard has been suspended 50 games for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter). Howard was the Tribe's second-round selection in 2011 and ranked as the team's No. 25 prospect prior to the season, according to Baseball America.

White Sox Ready To Sell; Won’t Trade Sale Or Konerko

We heard last week that the White Sox had begun to receive calls on their veteran players. Now, rival executives tell Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that the ChiSox are "open for business" and willing to discuss anyone on their roster with the exception of Chris Sale and Paul Konerko.

That means that even John Danks, who just last year signed a five-year, $65MM extension with the Sox, could be had in the right deal. The team also has desirable trade chips like Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, Jesse Crain, Matt Lindstrom, Matt Thornton and Jake Peavy (though he's currently on the DL). Heyman also adds that Jeff Keppinger's name has already come up in conversations, despite the fact that he signed a three-year deal just this past offseason.

Not surprisingly, one executive told Heyman that Adam Dunn will be difficult to move. Dunn is owed $15MM in 2014 and is hitting .194/.303/.460 this season. Another said that Peavy will be tough to find a match for as well. The White Sox will have a high asking price on their co-ace, but teams won't have much time to determine if he's truly healthy.

Another executive told Heyman that the Mets could look at Ramirez as a potential long-term option at shortstop. While he's not hitting for power anymore, Ramirez is batting .280/.308/.345 with 18 stolen bases and outstanding defense, according to advanced metrics like UZR and DRS. He's owed $10MM in 2014 and has a $10MM club option for 2015 on his contract as well.


Quick Hits: Lee, Papelbon, Kawasaki, White Sox, Appel

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports runs down the names to watch as the trade deadline approaches in the latest edition of his 10 Degrees column, and the list is topped by Cliff Lee and Chase Utley. Giancarlo Stanton, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Justin Morneau, Jesse Crain, Oliver Perez and Matt Garza also appear on the list, along with Passan's rationale for shopping each. Here's more from around the league…

  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that the price to acquire Lee from the Phillies would be "astronomical," and the same goes for Jonathan Papelbon. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Heyman, "I never say never," but those two would be very difficult to replace. Utley and Michael Young are much more likely trade candidates, opines Heyman, given their impending free agency.
  • The Blue Jays' decision on what to do with Munenori Kawasaki following Jose Reyes' return from the disabled list grows more difficult each day, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. Kawasaki's popularity among fans and teammates has soared. Mark Buehrle went as far as calling the Japanese infielder one of his favorite teammates of all-time. Kawasaki also has a .341 OBP and is hitting .270/.372/.486 over his past 15 games.
  • Both Adam Dunn and Jake Peavy recognize that roster changes are on the horizon for the White Sox if they can't turn things around at the last minute, writes Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Dunn added that outside of Chris Sale — whom he said the White Sox would need to receive an entire MLB team to part with — everyone on the team is probably "fair game."
  • Mark Appel could make his pro debut for Class A Tri-City in the first week of July, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. The current plan for Appel is for him to begin a throwing program in Kissimmee, Fla., as he currently hasn't thrown in about three weeks.

AL Central Notes: Tigers, Sale, Indians, Morneau

Here's the latest from around the AL Central…

  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski admitted to reporters (including Lynn Henning of the Detroit News) that teams had been calling him about the Tigers' starting pitching depth.  The Rangers reportedly asked about Rick Porcello earlier this week and several teams have shown interest in the right-hander throughout the offseason.
  • Dombrowski and Jim Leyland revealed no new details about the Tigers' closer situation other than saying that rookie Bruce Rondon is still very much a candidate for the job despite struggling in four Spring Training outings.
  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn discussed Chris Sale's extension with reporters (including MLB.com's Scott Merkin) and likes that the team was able to lock up a potential ace at what could end up being a bargain price.  "Obviously this past offseason was a pretty robust one in terms of where the compensation was going. So being able to lock something down before there was further escalation in Chris' market had a lot of appeal to us," Hahn said.
  • Scott Kazmir can opt out of his minor league deal with the Indians if he isn't on their Major League roster by April 2, ESPN's Buster Olney reports (via Twitter).  Daisuke Matsuzaka, another Tribe minor league signing, also has an opt-out date "about the same time."
  • Unless Justin Morneau improves on his 2012 numbers, Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities feels the Twins will struggle to get "anything significant" for the slugger in a possible trade, and could have to settle for a trade package similar to what they received for Francisco Liriano last summer.  Morneau hit .267/.333/.440 with 19 home runs in 570 PA in 2012 and is entering his last season under contract with Minnesota.  Mackey also discusses the Twins payroll, various roster decisions and other topics during this chat with fans.

White Sox To Extend Chris Sale

The White Sox announced that they have agreed to sign Chris Sale to a five-year extension. The deal will guarantee the left-hander $32.5MM and could keep him in Chicago through 2019. Sale, a client of Jet Sports Management, emerged as a frontline starter in 2012.

Chris Sale - White Sox (PW)

“We are thrilled to be able to reward Chris for his accomplishments thus far in his career and to keep one of the best young starters in the league in a White Sox uniform for potentially the next seven years,” White Sox senior vice president/general manager Rick Hahn said.

Sale's deal covers his remaining pre-arbitration season, his three arbitration seasons, and at least one free agent year. The contract also includes club options for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The 23-year-old will earn $850K in 2013, $3.5MM in 2014, $6MM in 2015, $9.15MM in 2016 and $12MM in 2017. The White Sox have options for $2018 ($12.5MM) and 2019 ($13.5MM) with $1MM buyouts.

The deal includes an escalator that could increase the total value of the contract to $60MM over seven years, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). Sale would have to win a Cy Young to trigger the escalator.

Sale pitched like one of the American League's top starters in 2012 after contributing out of the bullpen for his first two MLB seasons. He posted a 3.05 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 192 innings in 2012, earning a spot on the AL All-Star team.

As MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows, it's nothing new for pitchers with two-plus years of service to sign five-year extensions worth $30MM or so. Jonathon Niese, Derek Holland, Trevor Cahill, Yovani Gallardo and Jon Lester are among the pitchers who signed these deals. Typically the extensions include at least one club option.

Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com first reported the agreement. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Chris Sale, White Sox Discussing Extension

Chris Sale and the White Sox are discussing a contract extension, according to Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Sale is represented by Jet Sports Management.

The talks appear to be preliminary. If the two parties can't agree on an extension, Sale will make $600K in 2013, after posting a 3.05 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 192 innings in 2012.

Sale will be arbitration eligible for the first time next winter, and he has 2.061 years of service time. Trevor Cahill and Clay Buchholz's contracts, which are both around $30MM (and also include club options) and were signed when those pitchers had between two and three years of service time, provide rough blueprints. (See MLBTR's Extension Tracker for more.)

The White Sox would likely want to cover Sale's four remaining pre-free agency seasons, along with at least one free agency season. Sale, meanwhile, would be guaranteed north of $30MM, mitigating his risk in the event of health problems or ineffectiveness.


White Sox Notes: Hahn, Viciedo, Sale

White Sox GM Rick Hahn had a relatively quiet debut offseason while AL Central rivals such as the Indians and Royals made aggressive moves. Hahn told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that at times he thought about making a splash. “There’s a strong temptation first to try to be part of that, add yourself in as a three-way or four-way. And we did explore some of those avenues, but obviously it becomes pretty complex." Here are the latest White-Sox related notes…

  • Hahn said he was ultimately happy to re-sign Jake Peavy instead of making moves for the sake of making moves.
  • The White Sox announced that they agreed to terms with all pre-arbitration eligible players, including Dayan Viciedo, Chris Sale and Addison Reed. Every member of the team's 40-man roster is now under contract for 2013.
  • Viciedo will earn $2.6MM, Sale will earn $600K and Reed will earn $520K, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports (Twitter links). While the raises for Sale and Reed are nothing out of the ordinary, Viciedo’s salary is unusually high for a pre-arbitration eligible player. He obtains a modest raise from the $2.5MM salary he earned in 2012, the final season of the four-year, $10MM contract he signed as an amateur free agent in 2008.
  • The White Sox acquired third baseman Conor Gillaspie from the Giants for minor league right-hander Jeff Soptic earlier today.