Bob Nightengale is not alone. USA Today’s national baseball writer reported on Twitter on Monday that the Washington Nationals had inquired about the availability of White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale, though he noted that Chicago hadn’t had any serious talks with anyone yet.
Fanrag’s Jon Heyman reported this week that the, “White Sox listened to offers at the July trade deadline... but rival teams seem to believe there is a greater likelihood than ever that Sale will be dealt this winter.”
Sale, 27, was (17-10) in 32 starts in 2016, posting a 3.34 ERA, a 3.46 FIP, 45 walks (1.79 BB/9) and 233 Ks (9.25 K/9) in 226 2⁄3 innings, finishing the season at 5.2 fWAR.
Sale is also under control through 2019. He’s due $12M in 2017 with club options at $12.5M in 2018 and $13.5M in 2019 (or a $1M buyout each year).
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal wrote on Tuesday night that, “... major-league sources confirmed the Nationals’ interest in Sale on Tuesday,” though Rosenthal noted that, “...[t]he likelihood of a deal with the White Sox... is unknown.”
While just about every team in baseball will have interest if Sale is actually available, Rosenthal writes that the, “Nats’ edge is that they have A) a farm system that can satisfy the White Sox and B) a general manager, Mike Rizzo, who relishes making bold moves.”
In spite of their perceived needs at other positions (catcher, bullpen, outfield bat), Rosenthal also says that his sources have told him that the Nationals have also, “... expressed interest in the Rays’ starting pitchers — Chris Archer, et al,” and they have added pitching before in spite of the fact that they had sufficient depth, like they did with the Max Scherzer signing.
Will the White Sox actually deal Sale? Rosenthal talked to a rival executive who said, “They’re willing but only if they totally win the deal, which won’t happen.”