Michael Kopech

Who won the Chris Sale trade? Both colors of Sox might claim multiple victories when it's all said and done

Who won the Chris Sale trade? Both colors of Sox might claim multiple victories when it's all said and done

Who won the Chris Sale trade?

Despite what the world of sports talk might have to say, trades aren’t like the games themselves. They aren’t competitions. They can have multiple winners and multiple losers.

Unless they run up against Sale in the postseason one day, the White Sox won’t judge the decision to ship him to the Boston Red Sox ahead of the 2017 season based on what he does in the remainder of his potentially Hall of Fame career. They’re far more concerned with what Michael Kopech and Yoan Moncada and Luis Basabe do in White Sox uniforms. That’s how they’ll claim a win or loss.

Of course, the Red Sox have already claimed a big victory, with Sale playing a starring role in their World Series championship a little more than six months ago. Sale put up a 2.11 ERA during their 103-win regular season, then allowed just seven runs and struck out 24 batters in his 15.1 postseason innings, which included striking out all three hitters he faced in the ninth inning of the Game 5 win that clinched the championship.

Kopech and Moncada could go on to be star players. But the Red Sox got what they wanted out of Sale, and he’s got a ring to prove it, something (other than the memories, of course) to confirm his dream came true.

“It was awesome,” Sale said Saturday during his first conversation with Chicago reporters since he won the World Series. “Definitely one of those lifelong dreams you think about when you're a kid. I got to live out basically everybody's dream of being able to throw the last pitch and win a World Series and celebrate with my team, with my city, with my family. That's what you sign up to play this game for is to be the last man standing, and we were.”

Sale never came close to doing that while he pitched for the White Sox. They missed the postseason in all seven of his seasons, five of which saw him represent the team at the All-Star Game. But the reason they traded one of the best hurlers in franchise history away was to get there one day.

Sending Sale to the Red Sox brought a big haul back to the White Sox, headlined by Kopech and Moncada, two players that have fans on the South Side pretty excited. Moncada’s gotten off to a nice start in 2019, the owner of a .298/.361/.521 slash line heading into Saturday’s game.

Kopech is out for the 2019 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery but still carries hopes of being a front-of-the-rotation guy — the kind of thing Sale is for the Red Sox. There’s obviously a long way to go before that comp can be made, but someone who would know sees a few similar qualities between the two.

“(Sale is) a competitor, and I think he's one of those guys that shows it,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Saturday. “He shows his competitiveness, he'll show his emotion when he's disgusted with something and also show you an extreme amount of joy when he sees something done well. He's driven for success. He knows what he has and he expects the most out of himself and I think if it doesn't happen he always feel bad about not getting the result he wants. That's just the drive the man has.

“(Kopech is) real similar in terms of personality and drive. He does not like not performing well.”

The idea is that Kopech and Moncada will be part of a White Sox championship team. The best-case scenario is that they’ll be part of multiple White Sox championship teams. And that, more than anything and certainly more than what Sale does in Boston, will determine if the White Sox win the trade — and how many times they win it. If they win the World Series with Kopech and Moncada as featured contributors, that’s a win. If they win twice, that’s two wins. And so on.

The goals are the same for those two players, obviously, but they have no interest in winning trades. They do, of course, have interest in winning.

“I know that (Moncada) and myself probably would rather almost put that behind us, but not in a negative connotation,” Kopech said Friday. “Just in the fact we want to have our own careers and build a name for ourselves. It’s not a bad thing by any means. Chris Sale is Chris Sale.

“Obviously when he was here, he was a big part of the team, and me and (Moncada), we want to be our own addition to the team. We want to be able to help this team win a championship someday and hopefully someday soon. We are not really trying to prove anyone right or wrong or anything like that. It’s just now this is the team. This is who we are.”

While the White Sox bevy of uber-confident prospects have not been at all shy when it comes to talking about their championship aspirations, Sale opted not to play talent evaluator when it comes to the rebuilding White Sox.

“That’s not my area, man. I play for the Boston Red Sox. I got this team to worry about,” he said. “I enjoy coming back here and seeing everybody, and they obviously have great talent over there.

“But I’m trying to win the same thing they are. I’ll leave it at that.”

In that aspect, there is a bit of competition between Sale’s Red Sox and the White Sox. But the ultimate factor in whether the White Sox win the trade or not is if it helps get them to the place they want to be, the place Sale was at the end of last season.

Sale might have decided against handicapping the team’s chances of reaching the sport’s pinnacle, but he does think the right man is at the helm. He was very complimentary of Renteria and touted him as the right man for the job of getting the White Sox to their planned contention phase.

“He's a great baseball mind, he's a great person,” Sale said. “I think he's a guy that can get anybody in that clubhouse or anybody in any clubhouse to buy in to something. He's a fun guy to be around, but he's that no-BS (type). He wants you to run hard, he expects the best out of you. I think we've seen that at times from him as a manager already, and I think that's where the respect comes from. I've said it before, I think he's the right guy in the right place for what they've got going on.”

So who won the Chris Sale trade?

Well, the Red Sox did. And maybe they will again. Despite the ugly start to their 2019 season, the Red Sox would surprise no one by figuring things out and challenging for the crown again. And in future seasons, thanks to new contracts for Sale and Xander Bogaerts and the league-wide extension trend potentially keeping Mookie Betts in Boston, they’re sure to be contending for those championships, too.

But maybe the White Sox will win the trade, too. If Kopech returns from his recovery and turns into the ace so many expect him to be. If Moncada is more April 2019 than 2018 as he continues to develop at the major league level. A lot of other pieces of the White Sox plan would have to come to fruition if they’re going to get to the point the Red Sox were at last season. That certainly could happen, though, and if Rick Hahn’s project of building a perennial contender ends up a success, it could equal multiple championships and multiple wins of this trade.

So it’s an ongoing thing. The point is, both teams had the same goal with the deal: to win the World Series. Sale and the Red Sox got there last season. Someday, the White Sox might, too.

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Tim Anderson's have-fun crusade gets Michael Kopech's stamp of approval: 'Have all the fun you want'

Tim Anderson's have-fun crusade gets Michael Kopech's stamp of approval: 'Have all the fun you want'

“We play a game. It’s fun. That is all.”

Michael Kopech tweeted that as the debate over old-school vs. new-school got dragged back into the fore by the actions of his teammate. The injured pitcher was thousands of miles from the epicenter of the chain of events that thrust Tim Anderson into the national spotlight. But, thanks to social media, he’s been standing right beside Anderson all along.

Bat flips make for fun highlights and good marketing campaigns, but there’s a certain segment of players, fans and other baseball people that think they’re a display of arrogance, inappropriate behavior and a violation of unwritten but well-established rules that have developed in the game’s century and a half of existence.

Anderson has taken up the crusade of changing baseball for the better, making an at times old-timey game more fun and more appealing to different populations of fans, be they younger than the typical baseball fan or have a different skin color than the typical baseball fan.

Kopech has been among Anderson’s supporters.


In addition to his social-media support, Kopech provided his thoughts on the whole situation Friday, talking with reporters during his multi-day break from Arizona.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t throw at somebody because they pissed me off before. So I see both sides of it. But I’m not saying I’m right for throwing at anybody, either,” Kopech said from the home dugout at Guaranteed Rate Field. “What Tim is doing is having fun. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him having fun. So that aspect of everything is kind of controversial right now because there are people who agree and disagree and some people kind of agree with it.

“It’s at a point where the game either has to change or it’s not going to. I think Tim is making a push for the game to change, which is fine by me. Have all the fun you want.

“If I strike somebody out and I pound my chest or whatever, I don’t want anybody getting pissed off at me. If I give one up next year and it’s over that scoreboard, I don’t really care. Flip your bat. Do it. I might get mad at the time. But I’ll get over it.”

The level of offense people take from someone flipping a bat — a pretty silly thing to get mad about when you see it written out like that — has to do with a lot of different factors. The majority of White Sox fans seem to be behind Anderson, though their opinions might be different if he didn’t play for the White Sox.

Anderson’s teammates have been vocal in their support of him, though some have described themselves as “old school,” admitting to being in the camp Anderson is up against. Of course, they have the luxury of knowing Anderson and being around him on a daily basis, understanding what kind of person he is. If someone else did the same thing against them and they didn’t have the same kind of experience they have with Anderson, they might find themselves feeling much the way Brad Keller did when he plunked Anderson in the at-bat following that bat flip on April 17.

None of that should be forgotten as this debate rolls on with Anderson playing a starring role. The White Sox and their fans should have some extra appreciation for Anderson, especially as his hard work has yielded some tremendous results in the first month of the 2019 season. He received American League Player of the Month honors just Thursday and still led the AL in batting average and stolen bases heading into Friday’s game.

There’s been a sense that both with the offensive results and the displays of emotion on the field, we’re finally seeing the real Tim Anderson. Kopech agrees.

“He’s really confident. He’s always been that confident player,” Kopech said. “It’s fun to see him really come into himself because we know him as that guy in the clubhouse, but I think he’s made a few comments even that he’s never really shown that side of himself on the field and he’s starting to and it’s really fun to watch.

“He’s a great guy and a great player.”

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MLB Pipeline Releases White Sox Top 30 Prospect List

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USA TODAY

MLB Pipeline Releases White Sox Top 30 Prospect List

Each year, MLB Pipeline rolls out their top prospect lists. They do an overall top 100 and a top 30 by team. The White Sox Top 30 list was released today. 16 pitchers, 14 position players; ranging in age from 19 to 26. Eight acquired via trade, one via waivers, two via international free agency, 19 drafted by the White Sox. Born in the USA and four other countries – Dominican Republic, Cuba, Venezuela & Mexico. You’ve heard many of these names, but let’s dig in and learn a thing or two about them.

 

  1. Eloy Jiménez, OF

Jiménez was 0 for 10 in his first 3 games of 2018 (with Birmingham).

He was 0 for 7 in his last 2 games of 2018 (with Charlotte).

He hit .351/.394/.602 with 22 HR in the 103 games in between (combined Birmingham & Charlotte).

  1. Michael Kopech, RHP

Kopech had a start with 8 walks and 5 wild pitches on June 14 for Charlotte.

In his final three starts of 2018 before being called to the Majors, he pitched 20 innings with 27 strikeouts and no walks.

Kopech’s first career strikeout was Miguel Sanó, who happened to be the last batter Chris Sale struck out while pitching for the White Sox.

  1. Dylan Cease, RHP

Cease’s last 6 games of 2018 (with Birmingham) went like this:

0.29 ERA, 30.2 IP, 12 Hits, 12 Walks, 48 Strikeouts, 0 HR allowed.

Opponents had a .120/.214/.140 slashline

  1. Luis Robert, OF

Robert struggled through thumb injuries during the 2018 season, where he went homerless in 50 games across three levels.

However, when he went to the Arizona Fall League, it was all business, turning in a .324/.367/.462 slashline with 2 HR and 5 SB in 18 games for the Glendale Desert Dogs.

Robert hit .401/.526/.687 with 12 HR in 53 games in his final season in the Cuban League (2016-17).

  1. Nick Madrigal, SB/SS

Madrigal played 43 games across three levels for the White Sox in 2018. He had more HBP (7), more walks (7), more stolen bases (8) and more doubles (7) than he had strikeouts (5).

When Bill James listed the all-time top 100 at each position in his New Historical Baseball Abstract in 2003, his number one catcher (Yogi Berra) AND number one second baseman (Joe Morgan) stood 5’7” - just like Madrigal.

  1. Dane Dunning, RHP

Dunning pitched 86.1 combined innings for Winston Salem (Advanced-A) and Birmingham (AA) in 2018.

In those 86.1 innings, he had 100 strikeouts and only 2 home runs allowed.

  1. Luis Alexander Basabe, OF

In the 2018 Futures Game, representing the World team, Basabe send a 102.3 MPH pitch from Reds prospect Hunter Greene for a home run.

The exit velocity was 104.8 MPH and the projected distance was 404’

  1. Micker Adolfo, OF

Adolfo is still only 22, but did you know the White Sox signed him several months (July 2013) before they signed José Abreu (October 2013)?

His father played with Vladimir Guerrero (Sr.) in the Expos system in the ‘90s.

  1. Blake Rutherford, OF

Rutherford tied for the Carolina League lead with 9 triples for Winston-Salem in 2018.

Whenever you can get an outfielder from the Yankees whose first name starts with B. and last name begins with RUTH, you gotta go for it.

  1. Luis González, OF

González hit a combined .307/.368/.498 with Kannapolis & Winston-Salem in 2018.

He hit .356/.468/.564 in 155 games for the University of New Mexico from 2015-17, including a .500 OBP as a junior in 2017.

  1. Steele Walker, OF

The Oklahoma outfielder drafted in 2018 who didn’t win the Heisman Trophy.

  1. Zack Collins, C

Collins led the Southern League with 101 walks in 2018. Nobody else had more than 82.

He had a stretch from April 24 to June 23 where he hit .310/.466/.523 with 52 walks in 52 games.

Then there’s my favorite bit of birthday trivia, which I wrote about here

  1. Jake Burger, 3B

Hit .339/.420/.620, 47 HR, 179 RBI in 176 games at Missouri State from 2015-17.

  1. Ian Hamilton, RHP

When Hamilton made his MLB Debut on August 31, he became the first player in White Sox history born in New Hampshire. Carlton Fisk grew up there, but was born in Vermont.

  1. Alec Hansen, RHP

Hansen really struggled in 2018. He had 8 more walks than he did in 2017 despite pitching 90 more innings.

He led the minor leagues in strikeouts with 191 in 2017, so the ability is definitely there.

  1. Zack Burdi, RHP

On August 13, pitched an inning and struck out all three batters faced in a combined 7-inning no-hitter for the Arizona Rookie League White Sox.

  1. Laz Rivera, SS

Laz Rivera is a shortstop from Miami who attended the U of Miami, much like Jon Jay & Yonder Alonso. If I wrote this a few weeks ago, you might be compelled to believe this is some kind of cryptic Manny Machado message.

  1. Gavin Sheets, 1B

Gavin Sheets spent 2015-18 at Winston-Salem; 2015-17 in College (Wake Forest is located in Winston-Salem), 2018 in the minors (Winston-Salem Dash)

  1. Jimmy Lambert, RHP

Lambert attended San Dimas High School in California. Hopefully his road to the Majors is an “Excellent Adventure.” That was an attempt at a “pop culture reference.” If you don’t get it, then I’m old.

  1. Konnor Pilkington, LHP

Listed as a left-handed batter and thrower. His Mississippi State bio says he’s ambidextrous. Started & won for Mississippi State against North Carolina in the College World Series on June 19.

  1. Bryce Bush, 3B

The Sox’ 33rd round pick in 2018 is the youngest prospect on this list… by over two years. Born December 14, 1999. The next youngest is Konnor Pilkington (born September 12, 1997).

  1. Seby Zavala, C

Twice Zavala homered in three straight games in 2018. The second time he did it, the third home run came on May 9th, Tony Gwynn’s birthday. Zavala played at San Diego State University under coach Gwynn. Zavala has a #19 tattoo in honor of Mr. Padre.

  1. José Ruiz, RHP

Ruiz was originally signed by the Padres as a catcher in 2011.

  1. Zach Thompson, RHP

This top 30 list has a pair of players listed at 6’7” (Thompson & Alec Hansen) and one listed at 5’7” (Madrigal).

Had a 1.55 ERA in 75.1 IP across two levels in 2018.

  1. Caleb Frare, LHP

Frare was one of five White Sox to make their first career MLB mound appearance in 2018, joining Ian Hamilton, Ryan Burr, Michael Kopech… and Matt Davidson. Frare (three batters), Hamilton (three batters), Davidson (three batters) & Burr (four batters) retired everyone they faced in their debuts. Kopech tossed two scoreless innings, but allowed three hits and a HBP. By the way, at one point, Matt Davidson was the #1 ranked White Sox prospect (2013), though more so for his hitting.

  1. Lincoln Henzman, RHP

A 4th round pick in 2017, Henzman was born on the Fourth of July, his name is Lincoln (Garrett Lincoln Henzman, at least) and he was an All-American at Louisville. Thanks to @FutureSox for that one.

  1. Jonathan Stiever, RHP

Had 39 strikeouts in 28 innings at Great Falls (Pioneer League) in 2018 after being selected in the 5th round of the draft out of Indiana University.

Stiever was born in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. The White Sox haven’t had a pitcher born in Wisconsin start a game since Jim Magnuson in 1971. The first game in White Sox Major League history (1901) was started by a Wisconsin native (Roy Patterson).

  1. Tyler Johnson, RHP

2018 with Kannapolis & Winston-Salem:  41 games, 89 K, 16 BB in 58.0 IP, 1.40 ERA, .486 OPS allowed, 0.879 WHIP. Good.

  1. Jordan Stephens, RHP

Stephens looks to become the 3rd Major Leaguer to have attended Alvin High School in Alvin, TX. The others are Nathan Eovaldi and Nolan Ryan. He’s also 34 days older than Bryce Harper.

  1. Ryan Burr, RHP

Burr & Ian Hamilton were both in the White Sox bullpen from the end of August on. Yet not once did Hamilton & Burr both pitch in the same game. #History