A day after the blockbuster deal that brought him to Boston, Chris Sale, calling the Red Sox “one of the greatest baseball franchises ever,” expressed his excitement to be joining a bonafide, perennial playoff contender.
At the annual Winter Meetings on Tuesday, Red Sox baseball president Dave Dombrowski dealt four prospects, including the highly-regarded Yoan Moncada, to the White Sox for Sale, one of baseball’s premier players. It was the biggest of three deals Dombrowski completed in one day, including acquiring Mitch Moreland and Tyler Thornburg.
The moves improved the Red Sox’ 2017 World Series odds from 9/1 to 11/2, second only to the Cubs, who at 15/4 currently have the best odds of repeating their big October win. Oddsmakers rank the Nationals, Indians, and Astros after Chicago-NL and Boston.
Here are some other news and notes for Red Sox fans:
- Sale has spent all seven of his big league seasons in the AL Central with the White Sox, but he does have a record in the East, including a lifetime 1.44 ERA at the Rays Tropicana Field (four starts), a 1.80 ERA at both the Blue Jays Rogers Centre and Yankee Stadium (three and four GS, respectively), a 2.49 ERA at Oriole Park at Camden Yards (4 GS), and a 3.63 ERA at Fenway (three GS). The Washington Post deftly explores why pitching at home could be Sale’s Achilles Heel.
- One thing Sale will find different in Boston are the attendance levels and corresponding energy in the ballpark. Last season the White Sox drew an average crowd of fewer than 22,000 fans, ranking them 26th of the 30 major league teams for home support.
- Dombrowski told the Providence Journal‘s Brian MacPherson he “wouldn’t want to keep bothering” David Ortiz about cancelling his retirement after Papi’s comments about Sale raised some eyebrows. “My boy sale to Btown? You guys got me thinking,” Ortiz wrote on Instagram shortly after the news broke Tuesday. David was likely just joking, Dombrowski says, adding “if he really had sincere interest, that he would call.” In any case, any return from the voluntary retired list would require Papi to sit out the first 60 days of the season.
- In the aftermath of Tuesday’s Red Sox moves, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman was calling the Sox “the Golden State Warriors of baseball.” Cashman says the Bombers were never seriously pursuing Sale, despite the club’s need for starting pitching. “It is not a deal that we should be doing at this moment in time,” Cashman said, noting the club is not in a position to give up its top prospects.
- Speaking of the New York club, the Yankees will retire Derek Jeter‘s No. 2 in a ceremony on Mother’s Day, May 14. Jeter’s will be the 21st number retired in franchise history, the most retired numbers in baseball. With Jeter’s, the first ten numbers will no longer be available to future Yankees. The others are 1. Billy Martin, 3. Babe Ruth, 4. Lou Gehrig, 5. Joe DiMaggio, 6. Joe Torre, 7. Mickey Mantle, 8. Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey, 9. Roger Maris, and 10. Phil Rizzuto.