The Nationals were outbid by the Red Sox in their attempt to acquire Chris Sale, but that wasn’t for lack of trying, as Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post (Twitter links). Remarkably, the Nationals were willing to deal outfielder Victor Robles and both their top young starting pitching prospects, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, for Sale. But the White Sox instead opted for the Red Sox’ incredible offer, topped by Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech.
Robles, Giolito and Lopez are the Nationals’ top three prospects, according to MLB.com. All three of them rank among the top 40 in baseball and Robles and Giolito rank among the top ten. Robles has earned praise as a five-tool talent with good hitting ability and exceptional speed. Both Giolito and Lopez could make an immediate impact in a big-league rotation, and all three players have enormous upside once they reach the big leagues for good. That the White Sox were able to get one offer this good is incredible in its own right; that they had to leave it on the table because they found one they liked better is even more so.
Now that Sale is off the table, the Nationals are no longer willing to deal Robles, Chelsea Janes of the Post tweets. But the Nats could very well still pursue Andrew McCutchen, according to Svrluga. What that might take is unclear, as Robles is the name that has most frequently arisen as a possible Pirates acquisition in a potential McCutchen deal. The Pirates could perhaps continue to pursue the trade, hoping to land a package of young pitching headed by a player like Lopez or Joe Ross, whose names have both arisen in reporting about the potential swap.