SATURDAY,9:26pm: The White Sox aren’t motivated to trade either Sale or Quintana, multiple major league sources told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
7:52pm: The Rangers are currently unwilling to trade Mazara for Sale, but they’re open to dealing Gallo, Profar and some of their pitching prospects, per Sullivan.
FRIDAY, 5:23pm: The Rangers are “making [a] serious effort” to pry Sale loose from the White Sox, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan (via Twitter). Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported recently that the two teams were already chatting about Sale (and Quintana, too) before it became apparent that Chicago was leaning toward selling.
There’s “no indication” as yet whether these talks are going to go anywhere, Sullivan notes, so it doesn’t sound as if there’s anything building in the immediate term. Indeed, Grant adds on Twitter that no “serious talks” have occurred as of this point. The key takeaway seems to be that Texas at least plans to take a real shot at pulling off a blockbuster.
Indications are that Chicago would have interest in Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar in any scenario involving Sale. We’ve heard those two names quite a bit of late, and obviously the pair carries a lot of trade value. Still, it’s quite likely that Texas would need to add some real talent to that package to get the White Sox to budge.
Sale, after all, is just 27 years of age, remains under control at cheap rates through 2019, and carries a 3.18 ERA over a league-leading 133 frames on the year. Particularly with the contracts factored in, Sale is one of the most valuable single pitching assets in all of baseball — with Quintana not far behind him.
3:47pm: The White Sox are taking quite a few calls from rival organizations after reports emerged yesterday that the club is prepared to sell. While the extent of the sell-off isn’t yet apparent, and staff aces Chris Sale and Jose Quintana figure to be the most difficult pieces to pry loose, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag writes that the South Siders are at least willing to hear scenarios involving the top southpaws.
Per the report, the Red Sox are among the teams to have logged a phone call with the Chicago brass. Heyman suggests that Boston could theoretically also have interest in reliever David Robertson, and also notes that the Dodgers will surely check in on Sale and Quintana. No doubt plenty of other teams will also; as the recent chatter surrounding Chris Archer shows, controllable standouts draw wide interest no matter the time of year.
Ultimately, it seems that the White Sox are mostly looking to gauge the market for Sale and Quintana as they assess how far to go with their sales plan. GM Rick Hahn has acknowledged that the team won’t buy short-term assets, but hasn’t declared his organization open for business on the sell side, and it’s possible to imagine the club taking various routes given its array of veteran talent. Certainly, there’s no urgency to deal a top arm, though perhaps the Sox wonder if the time could be ripe with the market seemingly lacking the supply to match the demand.
The most likely pieces to be traded, generally, would be pending free agents. But as Chicago’s depth chart shows, the team’s walk-year vets don’t hold much appeal: Austin Jackson and Alex Avila are hurt, while Dioner Navarro has been ineffective and Justin Morneau only just returned to the big leagues. The Sox have one more season of arb control over infielders Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie; there’s one more year on the contract of southpaw reliever Zach Duke and two to go for Robertson. Both Melky Cabrera and James Shields could draw interest, though their expensive contracts will require some number-crunching.
The team’s true core, though, lies in the players it has locked up to lengthy deals. First baseman Jose Abreu has had some down moments, but remains an appealing asset. Outfielder Adam Eaton is a great value on his contract. And then there’s Sale and Quintana, who are probably the most appealing White Sox trade chips of all. Of course, their extremely favorable contracts, young age, and top-level production all make them important assets to an organization that probably doesn’t intend to oversee a full-blown teardown. But taking a package of near-MLB prospects could theoretically still make sense, and it seems that Chicag would like to at least know what’s possible.