There have been a lot of blockbuster trades throughout the decade in Major League Baseball, and the Boston Red Sox cracked the top-two.
MLB.com on Thursday ranked the league’s 10 biggest trades over the last 10 years, with Boston acquiring Chris Sale coming at No. 2. The southpaw was traded to the Red Sox from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz, infielder Yoán Moncada and outfilelder Luis Alexander Basabe in December 2016.
Here’s what MLB.com had to say about the trade:
After a few years of proving that a “stars-and-scrubs” strategy wasn’t going to work, the White Sox tore it all down. The next day, they’d trade Adam Eaton to Washington for Lucas Giolito and others. The next summer, José Quintana, Todd Frazier and David Robertson were on the move as well. Only now are they really attempting to return to contention. In Boston, the 2016 Red Sox won the AL East behind David Price and AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, but they’d reached the end of the line with Clay Buchholz and figured it was time to build a super rotation.
Sale lived up to expectations, throwing 372 1/3 innings of 2.56 ERA ball over the next two seasons, and he recorded the final out in the 2018 World Series. Like much of the rest of Chicago’s rebuild, this got off to a rough start, as Moncada struck out 217 times in 2018, while Kopech injured his elbow after only 14 1/3 innings that year. Basabe has struggled to stay healthy, and Diaz simply hasn’t been healthy enough to pitch since 2017. But Moncada broke out in a big way this past year, hitting 25 homers with a 141 OPS+ and strong third-base defense. Kopech has reportedly been back up to 100 mph in his rehab, and he should pitch in the Majors in 2020.
Sale had an uncharacteristic 2019 season that was plagued with injury. He finished with a 6-11 record and 4.40 ERA. But the left-hander has been a solid overall addition to Boston, even striking out Manny Machado for the final out of the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.