We’re coming up on the three-year anniversary of the White Sox–Red Sox Chris Sale blockbuster. It’s tough to say either team regrets that deal at this point. Sale was instrumental in Boston’s 2018 World Series run and remains one’s of baseball’s best pitchers. Chicago, meanwhile, has reaped the benefits of a Yoán Moncada breakout season that saw him garner a down-ballot MVP vote. Michael Kopech, meanwhile, remains one of the sport’s most exciting young pitchers.
That pair (along with Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz) weren’t the only Boston farmhands the White Sox were targeting. At one point, Chicago asked for Rafael Devers, then a 20 year-old in High-A, Chicago general manager Rick Hahn tells David Laurila of Fangraphs. Suffice it to say, Boston has to feel good about rebuffing Devers’ potential inclusion, as he garnered even more MVP support than did Moncada after a breakout 2019 of his own. There’s no indication Devers talks ever got close, it should be noted, but it’s still an interesting counterfactual given the star player he has since become. Some more from the American League:
- Speaking of Kopech, Hahn tells Laurila the fireballer is progressing as expected in his return from Tommy John surgery. The 23-year-old, who went under the knife in September 2018, logged a few innings in instructional league and enters the offseason fully healthy, per the GM. The club will no doubt be careful not to overwork the prized right-hander next season, but he seems on track to be a key factor in Chicago’s rotation mix. Kopech had dazzled in Triple-A in the two months preceding his big league call-up.
- J.D. Martinez opted into his three-year, $62.5MM deal with the Red Sox earlier this month. Rob Bradford of WEEI hears that decision wasn’t an especially difficult one, “hardly coming down to the wire.” That seemingly reflects some tepidness among potential Martinez suitors as agent Scott Boras explored the star hitter’s market in advance of the decision. Speaking entirely speculatively, that could tamp down the likelihood of Martinez opting out after next season (at which point he’ll have to decide on a two-year, $38.7MM deal) or of the Sox finding a buyer if they look to shop Martinez this offseason as a means of cutting payroll. That said, Martinez remains an elite hitter, and other teams’ circumstances and interest can no doubt change in the coming months.
- The Rangers unveiled a new $12.5MM academy in the Dominican Republic Friday, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. As Grant details, the facility is a significant step forward from previous conditions for Texas’ international signees. The Rangers’ front office believes that improving conditions for their youngest prospects will help them flourish on the field; current MLB first baseman Ronald Guzmán tells Grant that in the team’s previous cramped facility, illnesses spread among players quickly, which could no doubt have an adverse impact on players’ performance. Independent on any on-field benefits they’ll reap, the organization deserves credit for improving conditions for its players.