It appears that the Baltimore Orioles might well have some interest in Chicago White Sox Chris Sale. In 2013 Sale was 11-14 with a 3.07 ERA. Obviously the ERA isn’t shabby but the won/loss record is something on which could be improved. I suspect that playing for a team like the Orioles with the best defense in baseball behind him would make Sale into a better pitcher. I could very easily see Sale and Tillman rounding out the top of the Orioles’ rotation for the next couple of years. But the question that lingers would have to be what would an Orioles team with Chris Sale end up looking like?
By that, I mean what would the Orioles have to give up in order to pry Sale away from the ChiSox? First off we have to ask whether or not Chicago is interested in making a deal with anyone for Sale right now. I suppose that remains to be seen, but we haven’t heard anyone definitively say no we’re not trading him. In baseball terms that means he’s at the very least not off the table. However the question then becomes what do the Birds have to give up to get him?
I would submit that a trade that brings Chris Sale to Baltimore would almost have to include
catcher Matt Wieters. We’ve heard a lot about trading Wieters thus far in the off season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not an idea that’s gaining speed. I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly sure how comfortable I would be trading a player like Wieters if I were the Orioles. Many naysayers point to the fact that his offensive numbers have declined and so forth. If I were Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette, I would hardly care about that. A catcher the quality of Wieters might come your way once in a generation, and I would submit that anything he does at the plate is pure gravy.
However on the other hand, it does appear that re-signing Wieters might be a tough task given his agent (Scott Boras). Boston, New York, Washington, and probably Texas would all probably be candidates that would leap in front of the Orioles for Wieters once he hit the open market. In fact, assuming he went elsewhere in the end the Orioles would come off as looking like a farm team for someone else. So…wouldn’t it behoove the team to get something for him now?
If the Orioles are considering trading Wieters, a pitcher like Sale would probably be a great deal for them. Perhaps one of the best selling points Sale has outside of his numbers is that he’s technically under team control until after the 2017 season. That in and of itself is a long time. However there are also team options in his contract for 2018 and 2019 (with a $1 million buyout). So if the Orioles were to trade for Sale, we’d be looking at a pitcher that would be here for some time and maybe then some.
Again, I’m not really sure if the Orioles are comfortable dealing Wieters. However if they were going to pull the trigger on that, Sale is almost exactly the kind of player they would want in return. Putting Sale in front of the best statistical defense in baseball history, and 2013’s 11 victories should go up to bring him at least on par with Tillman’s won/loss total. Do we think that in and of itself might not be enough to send the Orioles back to the post season? Time will tell…if it happens that is.