Chris Sale Throws Pitches In A Game: This Means Something!
In a season of HOLY CRAP moments, this might be the HOLY CRAPest
As the trade deadline approaches the Red Sox are faced with numerous and unexpected decisions. Do they spend to upgrade a team that was in effect a placeholder for later seasons? Do they spend to maximize a window they didn’t know was open to them? Do they spend precious prospect capital they were stockpiling earlier than they were planning? Do they throw all their best-laid plans into chaos? Do they spend at all? If so, how much? How little? Who? What? When where how?
There are, as it turns out, a lot of questions.
At least one if not more of those questions lies in the starting rotation. The good ship Garrett Richards is taking on water. As it turns out, it might’ve been made of cardboard. The SS Martin Perez is little more than a life raft made of old jackets held together with staples and snot. Some upgrades to the rotation could be and probably should be made. But who? Tanner Houck is already up and in a bullpen role that seemingly befits his talents best, at least for now. Connor Seabold has returned from injury but has one start to his name since coming over from the Phillies a year ago, and that’s in Triple-A. It’s not like the Red Sox organization is swimming in starting pitching talent.
Or is it?
Worry not, dear friends because, well, check this out.
That’s Chris Sale! Chris F’n Sale! Chris MF’n Sale! Pitching! On a mound! To another team! Exclamation point!
Last night was his first time facing opposing hitters in a game since before his Tommy John surgery. The end result was that, it’s Chris Sale so it went as well fantastically.
Yes it was against Double-A hitters, but that really couldn’t matter less. This isn’t about Sale being ready to start Game One of a playoff series tomorrow. It’s about his journey to get to that point several months from now, and this is a step in that direction. Picture, right now in your mind’s eye, Sale striding to the Fenway mound, taking the ball, and warming up to face Whogivesacrap in the first game of the Division Series. That would be a sight! A SIGHT!
And the amazing thing is, it’s not pie-in-the-sky. It’s actually on the way to happening. We’ll know better how Sale’s arm reacts to the 49 pitches tomorrow, but there’s every reason to believe he’ll be able to join the Red Sox starting rotation sometime in the next month. That means the Red Sox will have effectively added Chris Sale at the trade deadline.
A starting rotation with Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Nick Pivetta is a pretty strong starting point. The thing about the trade deadline is that once it’s over, you got what you got. The cost to acquire someone notably better than Perez or Richards could be steep, possibly too steep, especially with Sale coming back. But how much can you count on Sale? How much can you count on any of Boston’s starters given the truncated 2020 season and the various injury histories each carries with them?
We’ll know the answers to this and the questions above soon enough but for now, rest more easily knowing that regardless of what the trade deadline brings, Jarren Duran is up, Tanner Houck is up, and Chris Sale - the actual Chris Sale! - is on his way.
I saw this tweet from Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline this morning while attempting to drink my coffee:
I guess that explains at least one reason why the Red Sox took Jud Fabian in the second round instead of Joshua Baez, the outfielder from a Massachusetts high school. There have been a lot of discussion on the importance of the hit tool, in essence a player’s ability to make contact, this draft season. The Rays based seemingly their entire draft around finding and picking guys with that skillset above all others. It makes sense, in a way. You can have all the power in the world but if you can’t put the bat to the ball it’s worthless (see: Dalbec, Bobby).
In this way both Baez and Fabian stand out. Both have extreme power and raw skills, but neither has exhibited enough of the hit tool to put that power into action during games in the way it would be necessary to have success at the pro level, at least not yet. The Red Sox made their bet on Fabian over Baez, at least in part because of the above tweet from Jim Callis. Fabian hasn’t signed yet but it’s a reasonable guess that when he does it’ll A) be an over-slot deal, and B) it will be for less than Baez got from St. Louis. The Red Sox are likely to spend over-slot on first round pick Marcelo Mayer, and that limits the total they can spend on other picks, so when forced to pick between the two they went with the less expensive option.
There are other differentiators between the two players of course, but ultimately you can only afford what you can afford. That’s kinda where the Red Sox were with Baez. I still love his upside and look forward to following his career closely, I’m just sad it’ll be with the Cardinals instead of the Red Sox.
The Sox rained on the Blue Jays parade on Monday, but it was Mother Nature who did the deed on Tuesday, forcing the postponement of the game until later in the summer. Unfortunately Garrett Richards start wasn’t skipped as he’ll go today against the Jays in what is, for now, the final game of this now-shortened series. Gosh a sweep would be nice, especially given the Rays win last night and their impending game against Baltimore today, but I’ll be honest, Richards scares me. I may have to watch from under my couch.