Photo: The Boston Globe
Major League Baseball is conducting its annual Winter Meetings this week at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.
That the meetings always coincide with the beginning of the holiday season is actually quite apropos for baseball fans, eager for a new starting pitcher, or perhaps a left-handed hitting DH under their tree. Black Friday is thought of as the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season. On it, shoppers from far and wide blitz stores all over the country in an effort to take advantage of the year’s biggest holiday bargains. With that in mind, day 2 of the MLB Winter Meetings can be best described as Red Tuesday, because Dave Dombrowski and the Boston Red Sox went shopping at Tiffany’s and brought home the most desirable item on the market (Chris Sale). The only difference was that they certainly did not pay a bargain price.
Since becoming a general manager for the first time at 31 years old in 1988 with the Montréal Expos, Dave Dombrowski has never been afraid to make a big deal. Some of his bigger trades have included bringing Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit, acquiring Max Scherzer for the Tigers, moving Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler, and getting David Price in a trade deadline deal as well. He is able to make these moves because unlike some general managers, he does not shy away from trading his organization’s uber prospects to make them happen. A few of the players he moved in the aformentioned transactions, who were thought to be untouchable at that time were: Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin, Austin Jackson, Edwin Jackson, and Drew Smyly. So, when word came down around noon on Tuesday that Chicago White Sox All-Star left-handed pitcher Chris Sale had been traded, it was no shock to learn that it was to Beantown. The Red Sox had the game’s best minor-league system and “Dealer Dave” at the helm. Off to Chicago went the #1 prospect in all of baseball (Yoan Moncada), along with Boston’s #4 prospect, Michael Kopech, who throws the ball 100 MPH, as well as the franchise’s #8 and #21 prospects too.
Putting Sale at the top of a rotation that also includes 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner, Rick Porcello, David Price, Drew Pomeranz, Clay Buchholz, and Eduardo Rodriguez, was too hard for Dombrowski to pass up. In Sale, Boston gets a 6′ 6″, 180 pound left-handed bulldog. The 27-year-old has compiled a 74-50 record over his seven years in the league. Nicknamed “The Condor”, Sale is a very uneasy at-bat for lefties and right-handed hitters too. Against his soon to be American League East foes, Sale has been excellent. In fact, over the last three years, he is a combined 10-4 against the division, with a 2.30 ERA. Not to be overlooked in the acquisition of Sale is his franchise friendly contract. This year he will earn $12 million, and he has club options in 2018 for $12.5 million, and 2019 for $13.5 million. Amazingly, Boston will get three years of Chris Sale in his prime for $38 million! In contrast, the Los Angeles Dodgers just signed 36-year-old lefty Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million contract.
Earlier on Tuesday, Dombrowski traded third baseman Travis Shaw and two minor leaguers to the Milwaukee Brewers for hard throwing setup man, Tyler Thornburg. He pitched 67 innings this past season, going 8-5 with a 2.15 ERA and 13 saves. Thornburg, who struck out 90 batters last year, will now be the primary setup man for closer Craig Kimbrel. Last but not least, Dombrowski signed Mitch Moreland to a one-year deal to cover both the first base and designated hitter roles.
Once again Dave Dombrowski showed up at the Winter Meetings with a to-do list. The fact that he was able to complete it in such a big fashion, in less than 24 hours, made him the envy of the business.
And that is My 2 Sense for this week.