I keep hearing lewd claims by most of the local media as well as some boisterous fans about how the White Sox hold all of the leverage with regards to any potential Chris Sale trade and how they should hold out for a kings ransom for the fiery left hander. I’m here to tell you why that line of thinking doesn’t resemble reality in any way……so pour a stiff drink (I prefer a Tequila neat, or a Zin of your choice from Turley) and throw another log on the fire and let’s get started……
First a definition….Leverage “use (something) to maximum advantage” This is a tough position when trading a top player is your best option, as is the case with the White Sox who have failed to win with the current core…….due to the fact that you never get full value for a top player being traded in their prime………think someone like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Walt Wesley for Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Meyers and Junior Bridgeman…….Babe Ruth traded for $125,000 and a $300,000 note……….Patrick Roy and Mike Keane for Andrei Kovalenko, Martin Rucinsky and Jocelyn Thibault……..Charlie Sheen for Ashton Kutcher…..I know what you are going to say, Chris Sale isn’t a star like these stars……he is for this trade market. As you can see, you never get full value, why?
White Sox current position (Leverage) – Teams that end up in position to trade a top star in the league have no leverage whatsoever…………most situations are more dire than the White Sox, which is to mire in mediocrity. Some situations, like when Charles Barkley was traded, are sort of forced trades by the star. This case isn’t quite that bad, but its pretty obvious to the other 29 teams that the White Sox have to do this. That will drive his price down. The White Sox aren’t completely backed into a corner, they could theoretically go for it, but they really shouldn’t and everyone knows it.
The commodity is scarce (Leverage) – I have heard a lot of talk about Sale’s contract being a big boost to his value in this trade market, but its really not. The teams we have heard about vying for Sale’s services can all afford a market rate starting pitcher if need be, so the cost savings doesn’t really factor in much………..I know, I know, you say, a penny saved is a penny earned or some such bullshit, but you just aren’t going to squeeze additional prospects out of any team for his market friendly contract. The big market teams give as much a fuck about that, as the wetback making dollah fitty an hour when you stealing from the boss. The White Sox might get one of these teams to take a bad contract of theirs, which is probably what ends up happening (possibly Shields, but more likely Robertson). The only way the contract matters is that it could potentially add additional suitors, small market teams like the Pirates or Cardinals who have potentially enough prospects to get him. If you are following the news, I don’t think any small market teams (save for the Braves) are even sniffing around. I have heard there aren’t other top pitchers available in this market, but this is clearly also untrue, as Justin Verlander is very available and he had as good a year as Sale last year (if one were to believe the buxom Kate Upton, it was better), except he’s right handed, which might be more to the liking of certain teams. Again, the Bostons and LA Dodgers and Houstons of the world might just prefer to take on Verlander if the demands in return are lower. Chris Archer is also “available” per many rumor sites, not to mention Jose Quintana on this very same roster, so I won’t say that Sale is fungible, but he’s not a unique commodity and his lower salary doesn’t matter very much.
The commodity’s future value (Leverage) – We have a declining asset folks, no matter how you slice it…………with every pitch, he’s a declining asset. His value will decline faster than Mona Lisa Vito’s biological clock was ticking. Think about those beautiful avocados you bought this morning to make some guacamole, if you wait too long, they’ll be brown and gross and getting Tommy John surgery, or worse, they’ll have a bad year and damage their value permanently (in this sense, since the trading window is small). It’s risky to hold Chris Sale any longer as he has almost zero upside pitching for the White Sox and infinite possibilities being dealt…..psss…if we realize this, then for fucksake the other 29 teams can piece it together, even the fucknuts team that is still employing Tony LaRussa in their front office.
Your trade partners position (Leverage) – Boston and the LA Dodgers are not in dire need, they have unlimited (basically) resources and might find it more valuable to try and post for Shohei Otani and keep their prospects, or trade for Verlander or sign Rich Hill. They could also both stand pat, they were division winners last year, returning their cores (BoSox need to replace Papi). These are not trade partners backed into a corner and forced to pay your price. These trade partners are like Trent and Sue, they’ll get those digits and wait 6 days to call their beautiful babies. Let’s look at Houston……they are closer to really needing “a Chris Sale” ($1, Mike North), their pitching staff was rough last year, they have the position players in place and have traded/signed more reinforcements this winter. That’s a team that has more need than the others, but are they really dressing up like Santa Claus and planting drugs on Billy Ray Valentine desperate…..I don’t think so…………looking at the rest of the pile, you need to find teams that are coming to the end of a playoff window, teams that are more desperate……the Washington Nationals come to mind, would they leverage their future for this? I could see them being Cousin Eddie kidnapping Frank Shirley desparate……..then again, if I were them I would probably just sign Edwin Encarnacion to take over for Ryan Zimmerman‘s corpse at First Base and run with it. The truth is, I don’t see a single trade partner that looks like Marcellus Wallace during the gimp scene…………not a one! I know what you are thinking, WTF? What we gunn do now BeefLoaf? Let’s pour us another drink and look at a picture of 108 fave Alexandra Daddario
Now………. The Climax
The White Sox aren’t going to get a kings ransom for Chris Sale, but they are going to get a nice package of players, sort of like the year you wanted Castle Grayskull for Xmas, but only got Snake Mountain……….they just aren’t going to be 2 top 10 prospects from the Red Sox, okay? The White Sox don’t have leverage over anyone, they have a good trade piece with which to work out a deal with another trade partner that might like that trade piece. Then the White Sox will trade several other players that will get little pieces here or there, then Rick Hahn will sign several low cost free agents, some will work out and be traded for even more young talent………..and it will snowball from there…….this isn’t going to work overnight and the Sox aren’t going to get all stars from the Chris Sale trade, it will just be the first and most valuable part to starting over.