How the Sox Stole Chris Sale-mas…
All the Cubs down in Wrigleyville loved October a lot, but the White Sox did not. No, they won’t be stealing Christmas from our north-side heroes, but things seem to be quite surly on the South Side.
As the Cubs continue to bask in the glory of their first championship in over a century, the White Sox negotiated to give naming rights to a company whose branding has drawn visual association to the lack of success for the franchise since 2005. It has been a great offseason by default for the boys in blue, regardless of moves. I mean, Kris Bryant got to meet Ellen!
I get it. There are a portion of Sox fans out that have enjoyed watching the Cubs struggle for a long time. They have turned years of painful losses into jabs and jaws at the expense of die-hard fans every-where.
However, a fan base that averages 14,000 less fans at home than the Cubs average on the road lost its favorite jab. We are Loveable losers no longer. In fact, the White Sox seem to be envious of the Cubs rebuild success enough to try it themselves. The Sox began exploring the return they could get for dealing Chris Sale, who not only is one of the top lefties in the game, but under a very team friendly contract. Return for this type of player was hard to really quantify, but it is safe to say it would be massive. There were few teams in baseball that had the farm systems to pull this off.
The White Sox made it clear to the media a week ago that they had no interest in making a deal with the Cubs for Chris Sale.
Before conversations began with any team, the Sox strapped Max to the sleigh and stole away the far-fetched dream of having Sale in blue pinstripes.
I understand we are geographically foes. Maybe not as much of rivals as a silver cup wants us to be. That being said, isn’t it the responsibility of the front office team on the South Side to get the BEST return possible for Sale? What if the Cubs called Hahn and the gang and offered Eloy, Baez, Happ, Schwarber, and others? (They wouldn’t, but still.)
It seems close minded to take one of the better farm systems off the table when you are looking to build the best ball club for sustainable success.
The Cubs and the Sox have been trade partners before, but how did that work out?
This trade is notable for the Cubs, for they received a player that became the face of the team and was a key piece to ’98 and ’03 playoff runs. George Bell was a veteran DH for the South-siders to help solidify the lineup. He accumulated 38 HRs and 176 RBIs in 257 games.
The Cubs acquired a bullpen arm before the deadline, while the Sox received a 19 year-old prospect. Garland had a career 4.41 ERA and 92 wins in his career on the South side, but was integral to the 2005 pitching staff that won the World Series. In 2005, Garland had 18 wins and the only All-Star game selection of his career. He added 2.25 ERA in 2 starts in the playoffs.
These are just two of many examples of trades between the two teams that brought joy to different sides at different times. Ultimately, organizations hit highs and lows at different times and need each other to address their needs. Maybe the White Sox should have set aside a childish grudge and entertained offers from Baseball Prospectus’ 12th ranked farm system.
While I did dream of Theo, Jed, Rick, and Jerry joining hands to sing “Welcome, Christmas” with all the fans down in Wrigleyville, Boston jumped the bait and sent a pretty solid gift to the Sox in exchange for the ace. With this deal coming together this way the White Sox Front Office’s brain grew 3 sizes today. Or will that be the Cubs trophy case…these Seuss tales can be hard to remember…