The Los Angeles Angels need another starter, and yet another name has been linked to the club. We all know about the Angels rumors that have the Halos linked to guys like Nathan Eovaldi, Corey Kluber, and Rich Hill, but this is different. This is a potential trade.
Jon Heyman on the Big Time Baseball Podcast with Tony Gwynn Jr. said that the Angels are a team searching for another starter. He mentioned former a former Red Sox pitcher, Eovaldi, and he also mentioned a current Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale. He says the Angels could be a possibility if the Red Sox ultimately decide to trade the southpaw.
I have no idea what Boston is doing and what direction they're heading in. I'm not sure if they know either. If Chris Sale is available they should be making calls.
LA Angels could be possibility for Chris Sale trade
Heyman tweeted on Christmas morning that teams have been checking in on Sale's availability. He said Boston isn't seeking teams out to trade any of their starting pitching but thinks (for some reason) that their rotation has a lot of depth and is listening to offers.
Sale's situation is tricky. From 2012-2018 Sale was one of the best pitchers in baseball. He was an all-star every single year of that stretch and had top-six Cy Young Award finishes each year as well. He had a 2.91 ERA and a 2.84 FIP while striking out 10.9 batters per nine and posting a 143 ERA+ in 208 appearances (207 starts) in those seven seasons. He capped off that stretch by recording the final out of the 2018 World Series for the Sox.
Sale had a rough 2019 but after being a huge piece to their World Series Championship puzzle the season prior, Sale signed a five-year $145 million dollar deal to remain in Beantown. Since signing the extension, things couldn't have gone much worse.
Sale has made just 11 starts in the last three seasons combined as he's dealt with a bevy of injuries. Sale made two starts this season and pitched just 5.2 innings. He's thrown 48.1 innings since 2019. Durability, obviously, is a huge concern right now.
Sale is making $27.5 million dollars this upcoming season and next and then has a $20 million dollar vesting option for the 2025 season that kicks in if he finishes top 10 in the 2024 Cy Young and is healthy.
When healthy, Sale, as far as we know, is still elite. He's barely pitched since 2019 but even with his 4.40 ERA he had a 3.39 FIP and struck out 13.3 batters per nine. He was still quite good.
Sale will be 34 by Opening Day and comes with a lofty paycheck and major injury concerns. If he's healthy and elite, trading for Sale would be amazing. If he's regressed considerably or spends his time injured, it's not so great.
The best option on the market right now who everyone seems to be linking to the Angels is Eovaldi, another older injury prone pitcher. After Eovaldi it's just a bunch of older pitchers you hope can give you a good season. A Sale trade would include risk but the potential for very high reward.
It's very possible the Red Sox opt to trade Sale to try and clear money so they can extend Rafael Devers. I mean, they let Xander Bogaerts walk. It's also possible the Red Sox think they're good enough to win right now and wants to keep this talented lefty.
If Sale is available, the Angels should try their hardest to get him. They should not be trading any valuable prospects considering Sale's age, injury history, and contract situation, but if the right deal presents itself they'd be foolish to not go through with it. He presents a similar injury risk to Eovaldi (who costs more than just money since he's attached to the Qualifying Offer) with much more upside. If Sale is who he was before the injuries, can you imagine the 1-2 punch with Shohei Ohtani at the front of this rotation?
A Sale trade would be complicated on many fronts. Boston might not want to trade him, and if they opt to move him, they might make the team acquiring him take on all of the money. Will Arte Moreno let Perry Minasian go into the tax? The Angels are very close to it, this trade would put them well into it.
Sale would be an awesome get for the right price. Let's see how this situation plays out.