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Red Sox Make Huge Splash: Acquire Sale, Thornburg, Moreland

Photo Credit: Fox Sports
Photo Credit: Fox Sports

The Red Sox were far and away the most active club around the MLB Tuesday, as they acquired All Star lefty Chris Sale, Brewers RP Tyler Thornburg, and signed Gold Glove first baseman Mitch Moreland

In what should be the biggest blockbuster trade of the offseason, the Red Sox acquired starter Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox, trading away highly touted prospect Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and two other prospects. After the Nationals were reportedly close to trading for Sale last night, the Red Sox made a final push and managed to trade for the All Star Tuesday afternoon. Sale has been magnificent since entering the league in 2010. He enters 2017 with a career 3.00 ERA and has struck out 1244 in 1110 career innings. Although Sale has never won a Cy Young award, the 27-year-old has never fallen outside the top 6 in voting in the 5 years he has been a starter. The Sox have Sale under contract through the 2019 season. Headlining the package from the Red Sox was the #1 prospect in all of baseball, Yoan Moncada.  Moncada was ranked as 65 grade prospect by, including a 60 hit grade and a 65 run grade, made evident by a .290 average and 94 SB over the course of two seasons in the Red Sox system. Moncada showed he still had some fine tuning to do though, striking out 12 times in 19 AB in his limited MLB experience late in 2016. Also included was power righty Michael Kopech, OF Luis Alexander Basabe and RHP Victor Diaz.

The Red Sox got things started earlier in the day, sending a package of players to Milwaukee for relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg. Over the course of 2016, Thornburg had a 2.15 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and a 2.83 FIP to go along with 90 strikeouts in 67 innings. He ranked 6th in fWAR out of all qualified NL relievers. Shipped out of Boston was third baseman Travis Shaw, who hit .242/.306/.421 with 16 home runs and 34 doubles in his first season as a starter. Shaw had his moments with Boston, but ultimately failed to prove that he could be their solution at third base, hitting just .207 with 9 home runs over the last 4 months of the season. With Pablo Sandoval’s weight apparently down once again, this move, if anything, tells us the Sox have faith that he can take back the full time third base role in the spring. Also included in the deal was IF prospect Mauricio Dubon and RHP Josh Pennington.

The Red Sox wrapped up Tuesday by signing Gold Glove first baseman Mitch Moreland to one year, $5M deal. In November, I wrote about Moreland and why he makes for a great fit for the Red Sox  here.

Connor Kurcon
Boston, MA. Lifelong Sox fan. Twitter: @ckurcon

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