Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Orioles deal for Chris Sale?


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.

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Tags: Baltimore Orioles Chris Sale Matt Wieters

  • Justin Jay

    Wins and Losses are overrated. Nothing is necessary to “make Chris Sale a better pitcher.” He’s one of the best and brightest in baseball, possibly Top 5. If you’re Baltimore, you MAKE this trade. There’s no way Chicago lets this happen and if they do, the GM should be immediately handed a pink slip. He’s a franchise pitcher.

    • Domenic Vadala

      First off Wieters is a franchise player also. But wins and losses are only overrated if you’re losing. Four or five years ago that would have been true for the O’s. But now it’s ALL about wins and losses. There should be little argument that Sale would improve with the Orioles’ defense behind him. Thanks for reading!

      • Justin Jay

        I honestly think Wieters is a bit overrated. Chicago IS losing my friend, which is why on a team like Baltimore, he would be a great pitcher and have the record to reflect it. He went 17-8 last year, and 11-14 this year… his numbers for this year were better. Lower WHIP, better K/9, 3 more CGs, 22 more IPs, better K:BB ratio… and despite those 22 extra IPs, his ERA was only .02 higher than last season.

        What you lose in Wieters, more than anything else, is leadership and he does a good job handling the pitching staff. He’s not your franchise player though. His WAR this year doesn’t even qualify him as a starter, but both you and I know the intangibles, so that’s moot. He’s just not a franchise player. It should be a no brainer to get Sale if Wieters is involved. There are catchers available out there to replace him for the most part.

        But the trade just isn’t going to happen. Sale, if healthy, is going to go down as one of the greatest White Sox pitchers in its history. That’s how good he is right now. Chicago needs to build around him, not trade him.

        • Domenic Vadala

          I would tend to agree with you, however I think it’s tough to “build around” someone who only plays every five games. Wieters instead is someone you could build around. A catcher with a .997 fielding percentage (in a season where he DIDN’T win the gold glove) is no laughing matter. I would say that IF the O’s were going to look to trade Wieters, they’d be getting pennies on the dollar unless they got a #1 starter back in return. Thanks for reading!

  • Dave Gruber

    The fact that you said a catcher like Weiters only comes around once in a generation is all you need to know about whether or not the O’s should keep him. I believe they must resign him. I know fans want to win now but I say let’s give Bundy and Gausman time to develop. I think a staff of Tillman, Gonzalez, Gausman, Bundy and Chen will be very competitive with any in the league by 2015, but only if you have Weiters behind the plate. I know after tasting success in 2012 and contending almost all 2013 that the fans want to win and win now but I say signing Weiters and building a staff with what we already have will be well worth the wait.

    • Domenic Vadala

      I agree with you 100%. The issue is that Wieters’ agent is going to want him to hold back as opposed to signing now. That’s why trade rumors are being floated. Thanks for reading!

  • bill leff

    Chris Sale is not going anywhere. He is a #1, signed to a long & affordable contract. That being said, the Orioles had better figure out how they’re going to sign Wieters.

    • Domenic Vadala

      McCann to NY makes that a bit easier for the Orioles. Thanks for reading!

  • Ryne Mehan

    Yeah. I don’t see this possible in any way. The White Sox are rebuilding and already have Sale locked up for a while. The only way they trade him is if they get numerous players in return that can help them now and in the future. The fact that Sale is locked until at least 2017 makes him a bargain any way you look at it. He is only set to make a little over thirty million in that time span, Wieters will be in line to make much more than that in no more than two seasons when he is eligible, and since the White Sox are rebuilding and most likely won’t be contending any time in soon it wouldn’t make sense to trade for a player that very well may be exiting his prime before the White Sox even plan on being in the playoff hunt. They would likely be stuck with a very bad contract.

    Really all it comes down to is that Chicago has all of the leverage in this situation. Sale is a bargain for any team, now and most likely in the future. Wieters will not be in two years when he demands a hundred plus million dollars.

    As much as I love exploring the idea of trading Wieters for some big name player I don’t see it happening, at least not now. I don’t see the Os getting something of equal or better value in return for the immediate future because of the fear that Wieters will demand so much money, but also because he hasn’t proven to be consistent enough offensively. He also hasn’t shown signs of really improving. I know the intangibles and what he brings, but to almost every other team leadership alone isn’t worth that much money, and I would have to agree.

    • Ryne Mehan

      With all that being said, I still feel the Duquette and Os management should have the Chi Sox on speed-dial. They should look into trying to swipe Hector Santiago or Jose Quintana, any of their young starters really. There is no way the White Sox will be able to commit to all of their starters, as they have made clear. The Os would be foolish to let one of those guys slip away while they are still somewhat under the radar.

      • Ryne Mehan

        Or the Tigers. Detroit is really the only team I can picture that would match up well enough with Baltimore to pull off a big name trade. The Tigers are still in need of a catcher and a closer. I know Detroit just shredded off some payroll by moving Fielder, but if the Os package up Wieters with Jim Johnson then the Tigers would have to listen.

        • Domenic Vadala

          And what could they get back from Detroit for that? The Orioles for the most part have always ensured that they “win” trades. When it comes to the trade market, they’ve been fairly shrewd and I”m sure they’d like to keep it that way.

    • Domenic Vadala

      You’re looking at it the wrong way; offense means next to nothing for catchers. Anything you can get at the plate from a catcher is gravy. So Wieters doesn’t need to improve offensively. He’s coming off a year where he fielded .997, with 58 assists and 1021 putouts. I’m not suggesting that it would be a straight-up trade, however it’s an option the Orioles could look to. My personal opinion is that they should bite the bullet and just overpay the guy to keep him behind the plate for awhile, but I don’t see that happening. Thanks for reading!

  • nick

    It’s going to take way more than Matt Wieters to get the White Sox to trade Chris Sale especially considering the team friendly extension he signed!!

    • Domenic Vadala

      I didn’t say that Wieters straight up would do the trick, although I do believe that some of the comments here indicate that Wieters is being slightly undervalued. We’re talking about a gold glove and all-star catcher who’s defense to date cannot ever be called into question. Thanks for reading!

  • nick

    The White Sox have good young pitching to build around. They need to tighten up their defense and add another bullpen arm and add maybe one more bat.