Dan's Dugout: Sale sails into Boston Harbor • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Sale sails into Boston Harbor


NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The Boston Red Sox did what the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals wouldn’t.

They packaged their top prospect in a successful bid to swipe southpaw strikeout machine Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox.

Super southpaw Chris Sale changes his sox

Super southpaw Chris Sale changes his sox

Just a day after denying that his team was in pursuit of the highly-coveted star, Boston general manager Dave Dombrowski pulled the trigger on a trade virtually certain to keep the American League East crown in Beantown.

Sale, 27, joins fellow lefty David Price and 2016 Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello in a Big Three perfectly suited for playoffs perfect – especially in the best-of-five Division Series.

Going the other way were Yoan Moncado, widely considered the top prospect in baseball, and three other prospects whose blue chips were only slightly tarnished.

Red Sox fans, already celebrating a four-player trade made with the Milwaukee Brewers earlier in the day, are now convinced that their favorites will also be favorites in Las Vegas – far outpacing the pitching-thin Baltimore Orioles, transitioning New York Yankees, and decomposing Toronto Blue Jays.

Dombrowski’s earlier swap brought Milwaukee reliever Tyler Thornburg, a 2016 rookie, for third baseman Travis Shaw and two minor-leaguers. Thornburg, at 28 a year older than Sale, will serve as Craig Kimbrel’s eighth-inning set-up man.

Sale would have switched leagues if either the Braves or Nationals had been willing to move their top prospect. But they weren’t, so Dansby Swanson and Trea Turner are staying put, although White Sox lefty Jose Quintana is still on the block.

The spurt of activity by the Red Sox almost guarantees matching moves by the Yankees, Red Sox, and Orioles. All can afford to bid for top free agents even if trade talks bog down.

Now that premium closer Mark Melancon has signed a four-year pact with San Francisco, only twp top relievers remain available through free agency. Aroldis Chapman, who started 2016 with the Yankees but finished with the Cubs, and former Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen are both targeted by several clubs.

Justin Turner provides power from third base

Justin Turner provides power from third base

So are Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, both with Toronto last season; Justin Turner, a third baseman who slammed 27 home runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers; and Mark Trumbo, the American League’s home run king. Trumbo, who hit 47 over the fence during the 2016 campaign, is coveted by the Colorado Rockies, whose alpine air appeals to power hitters.

Meetings Musings:

Members of the Marlins contingent spotted Tuesday in the lobby of the Gaylord National Harbor Resort were new third base coach Fredi Gonzalez, special assistant Bill Beck, and former manager Jack McKeon . . .

Lefty starter Rich Hill, retained by the Dodgers, is among several free agents Los Angeles would like to keep – especially Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen . . .

The Dodgers also have interest to replacing the 27 home runs of Turner with the 40-homer bat of Todd Frazier (White Sox) . . .

Jilted by closer Mark Melancon and surprised by the sudden Sale

Aroldis Chapman could come back to the Yankees

Aroldis Chapman could come back to the Yankees

swap to sox of a different color, the Washington Nationals are targeting Pittsburgh centerfielder Andrew McCutchen and flamethrowing Cuban closer Aroldis Chapman . . .

Winter meetings gadfly Stan Kasten, now with the Dodgers after a stop in Washington, was the man who convinced John Schuerholz to leave Kansas City and consider a new challenge in Atlanta.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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