Chris Sale wanted to play for the Chicago White Sox forever, and he said as much during a visit to Fenway Park last June. It could’ve been baseball’s equivalent to a romantic love story, but sometimes the knight in shining armor isn’t quite who you expect.
“I’m right where I want to be. I plan on being here forever,” Sale told the Boston Herald’s Evan Drellich in June. “So I mean, I don’t think they would trade me. I would hope not.
“I mean, at the end of the day, it?s a business. I understand you got to do what you got to do, what’s best for the team and what not. I have a hard time believing that I would be traded, and I really don?t want to (be).”
Sale was drafted by the White Sox in 2010 as the 13th overall selection — he previously was selection by the Colorado Rockies out of high school in 2007 before opting to go to college — and made his major league debut later that season. Aside from Sale’s very brief stint in the minor leagues, Chicago really had been his only professional home.
But then a few incidents in 2016 made pundits believe the White Sox actually could consider trading the star. In March, Sale publicly accused White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams of lying to players after the sudden retirement of first baseman Adam LaRoche. And in July, one month after his comments to the Herald, Sale had a confrontation with manager Robin Ventura, which led to the former cutting up throwback jerseys his team was supposed to wear that night and ultimately being suspended five games.
Sale stood by his July decision but doubled down on his desire to stay in Chicago with the White Sox in his first public comments after the incident. He did, however, leave the door open, admitting at the time that he no longer knew how his actions would affect the White Sox’s plans.
“I want to win a championship in Chicago. That?s been my goal from Day 1,” Sale told MLB.com’s Scott Merkin. “It has never changed. I only get more passionate about it because I know that it?s not easy winning a championship. There?s a lot that goes into it.
“Our main focus should be winning. ? I don?t think I would be traded. I don?t know for sure. I don?t know what they are thinking now or what?s going on.”
Apparently the White Sox, who had playoff aspirations to begin last season, decided it was time to move on from Sale or that Boston’s reported offer centering on Yoan Moncada (the No. 1 prospect in baseball) and flame-throwing right-handed pitching prospect Michael Kopech was too good to pass up.
Sometimes, forever ends early. Sale’s departure from the White Sox is not a fairy-tale ending by any means, but it’s one the Red Sox certainly hope can become a memorable story of its own at Fenway Park in years to come.
Thumbnail photo via Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports Images