All-Star ace Chris Sale is all set to join the reloading Boston Red Sox, leaving behind his shredded reputation with the Chicago White Sox.
Boston agreed Tuesday to acquire Sale for a package of four prospects, including high-priced infielder Yoan Moncada. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported the trade.
Sale was a top trade target at the winter meetings, and the AL East champion Red Sox are getting him instead of Washington, which also pursued.
A few hours earlier, Boston got prime setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee. After that deal was announced, without tipping his hand, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said: “We’re trying to win now, as you can see.”
Boston agreed to acquire Sale for minor league pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz, outfielder Luis Basabe and Moncada, a third baseman.
The 27-year-old Sale has been an All-Star in each of the last five seasons, finishing high in Cy Young Award voting every time. The lefty was 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA this year.
Sale led the majors with 274 strikeouts in 2015 and fanned 233 last season. He’ll join a talented rotation that includes recent Cy Young winner Rick Porcello, former winner David Price and All-Star knuckleballer Steven Wright.
Sale has a team-favorable contract that calls for a $12 million salary next year and includes club options for 2018 at $12.5 million and 2019 at $15 million.
The relationship between Sale and the White Sox became strained this year.
Sale was suspended by the team for five days without pay for destroying collared 1976-style uniforms the team was scheduled to wear July 23, saying they were uncomfortable. He lost $250,000 of his $9.15 million salary and also was fined about $12,700 — the cost of the cut-up jerseys. He blamed manager Robin Ventura for not defending his players.
During spring training, Sale was quite vocal about the decision to limit the time teammate Adam LaRoche’s son was allowed in the clubhouse. That flap led to hard feelings all around, along with LaRoche’s retirement.
The White Sox went 78-84, and haven’t made the playoffs since 2008.
Boston went 93-69, then got swept by Cleveland in the AL Division Series and finish out the career of retiring slugger David Ortiz.
The Red Sox signed Moncada in March 2015 for a $31.5 million bonus, the largest ever for an amateur player, and paid an additional $31.5 million in tax. For the $63 million, the 21-year-old played a total of eight games in the majors, all this season, and batted .211 with one RBI.
The 20-year-old Kopech was the 33rd overall pick in the 2014 amateur draft. The right throws hard and went 4-1 with a 2.08 as a starter in Class A.
Basabe, also 20, hit .264 with 53 RBIs in Class A. Diaz, a 22-year-old righty, went 2-5 with a 3.88 ERA in relief in Class A.