There’s nothing more valuable in this game than a true ace; teams dream of having a front-of-the-rotation dominator.
The White Sox have one, and he is signed to an incredibly team-friendly contract.
I know how thin the Sox’ farm system is, and how a theoretical trove of prospects from a Chris Sale trade could help restock it.
But you’d be hoping each pitcher acquired turns into a Chris Sale.
I’ve written and talked about his injury risk; many are terrified at the mere sight of his mechanics.
Among other details, Sale’s leg lands with what the biomechanical experts call an “internally rotated humerus at stride foot contact,” which can be a soft marker for shoulder issues.
But predicting injuries for pitchers is incredibly inexact. No one knows for sure that Sale will face a career full of injuries, no matter how loudly or adamantly they say so.
The next couple of weeks will give us a clearer window into White Sox general manager Rick Hahn’s long-term plans.
Is the organization looking to embrace a full rebuild? If so, then trades of Jake Peavy and Alex Rios would lean toward signifying it.
I don’t think the Sox will go that way. The starting pitching under contract for next season (Sale, John Danks, Peavy, Jose Quintana) means competitiveness is easy to visualize.
But, even if a rebuild were to be the choice and the team was willing to step back for a year or two, Sale should still not be dealt.
This is where the contract factors in. He makes $3.5 million next year. He gets $6 mil the year after that. The Sox pay $9.1 million in 2016.
It’s a five-year, $32.5 million deal, with two additional team option years on the back end.
You can afford to have him here while you rebuild. You could even afford to withstand a theoretical injury and a full year off.
It’s a terrific contract, which combined with Sale’s excellence makes his trade value so high that there won’t be an offer worth taking.
There will be more moments like the one he provided in the All-Star Game, when he made a great hitter like Carlos Gonzales look like Jordan Danks.
Enjoy Chris Sale, keep him healthy, and build around him.
Managing quite well:
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter joined a pretty exclusive group this week.
He became just the fourth manager in major-league history to win 250 or more games with four different teams.
His Orioles continue to battle for a playoff spot for what would be a second straight season. Showalter had good runs in New York, Arizona, and Texas before this.
Can you guess the other three to do it?
They are Joe Torre (Mets, Braces, Cardinals, Yankees), Gene Mauch (Phillies, Expos, Twins, Angels) and Dick Williams (Red Sox, Athletics, Expos, Padres).
Williams had more than 140 wins for the Mariners and the Angels, too!
He’s one of only three men to skipper six teams or more, along with Jimmy Dykes and John McNamara. Frank Bancroft managed seven different teams in the first half of the 20th century.
Sometimes multiple-team managers are lazy retread hires. And sometimes they prove themselves over and over again, like Buck Showalter.
What’s that again?
Here’s a shortlist of things that simply don’t look right in baseball, even though we’ve seen them for a while:
ŸIchiro Suzuki in a Yankees uniform.
ŸAlbert Pujols hitting under .250.
ŸJosh Hamilton with an OPS under .700.
ŸThe San Francisco Giants entrenched in second-to-last place.
ŸThe Pittsburgh Pirates hovering near 20 games over .500.
ŸAnd, yes, the White Sox with the third-worst record in the entire major leagues.
ŸMatt Spiegel co-hosts “The McNeil & Spiegel Show” 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday on WSCR 670-AM. Follow him on Twitter @mattspiegel670Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.