The Winter Meetings began this week just outside of Washington, D.C., and the one team everyone will be watching is the Chicago White Sox, as it seems as though the market is waiting for the South Siders to move Chris Sale before anything else big can happen.

I decided to take matters into my own hands by taking the role of White Sox general manager and fielding trade offers for Sale from Banished to the Pen contributors. Each participant picked a team and put together a trade package and submitted it to me via email for Sale. The stipulations:

1. I’m not sending any cash back.
2. This is Sale alone or Sale + spare parts
3. Quintana, Eaton, Abreu, and all pre-arbitration Sox players are off the table for this deal (but if they want guys like James Shields or David Robertson, or an arbitration years middle reliever, those players could be included).

Some proposals were fairly straight-forward, while others seemed to be pretty far out of left field (or from beyond the left field wall). Let’s take a look at what the crowd offered, along with the Sox club responses to see if anyone actually got Sale to move.

The first offer to come through was not actually from a Major League team, but rather, from our friends in the Pacific Association of Baseball Clubs, the Sonoma Stompers.

FROM: Scott Kramer, Sonoma Stompers
SUBJ: A sale on Sales

Sonoma Stompers get: Chris Sale

White Sox get: Rawhide + Fight

Rawhide is a multi-sport athlete with a background in hockey. Although he has been relegated to off-field duties in the past, he’s a young, projectable lefty with plenty of team control remaining. He could be the ace that the Sox milk for 200 innings every year. On the udder hand, his high cheese could really play up out of the bullpen. He can really hoof it around the bases, and swings a decent stick (hockey sticks are legal, right?), although that might be a mooooooot point in the AL. Overall, he’s much butter than you would expect, given his beefy physique.

The kicker to the trade would be Fight. While we’re not willing to give up the entirety of GM Theo Fightmaster, we’d be willing to send the Fight to the White Sox and move forward with Theo Master leading the Stompers. This would offset some of the fight that the Sox would lose from Sale’s departure. Fight would be provided in the form of a spirit that would pervade the White Sox clubhouse, inspiring them to take the fight to the field.


Dear Scott,

An interesting offer, and we’ve never dealt with the Pacific Association of Baseball Clubs before, so this is breaking new territory.

We’d need some additional details on Rawhide, and how exactly Theo Fightmaster gets split in two. Is this a horcrux type situation?

As long as we’re trading front-office members, I must insist on the full Theo Fightmaster, as well as those two scrapping baseball operations…interns (?) that the Stompers had in 2015. This is to say nothing of the Baseball Talent to exchange hands, which is AT LEAST Sean Conroy, but let’s take some time to chat face-to-face before getting into the details.

I’ll be in DC so drop me a line.



It wasn’t too long after that when the Braves hit my inbox with the first offer from an MLB team.

FROM: Nick Strangis <strangisthingsATL @ gmail . com>
SUBJ: RE: RE: RE: RE: Chris

Hi Brandon!

I heard you’re getting serious about taking offers for Chris Sale. I know we’ve talked a lot but I’m glad you’re getting closer to making a decision.

I don’t know if you heard, but my Atlanta Braves are moving into a new stadium next season, so the Johns are all over my ass to inject some star power into this roster to sell some tickets. Believe me when I say I understand how hard it is to “retool” a team, but we both know how much talent you need to get to a world series and I think the Braves can help you get back to that mountaintop.

Here’s what we can offer:

Ozzie Albies (19 yrs old, ss/2b, AAA) – We both know Brett Lawrie isn’t a first division starter. He’s hurt constantly and I’ve never met a manager who actually liked sharing a clubhouse with him. Instead, why don’t we send you a kid with all-star written all over him. He might even be a better shortstop than Anderson.

Albies not only brings a plus hit tool from both sides of the plate and a plus run tool (an independent evaluator actually clocked him on an 80 time from home to first on a jailbreak in spring training last season), but the fans love him. He had fans lined up down the hall to get a photo with him at Fan Fest last season and he hadn’t even taken an atbat in AA, yet! He not only has the talent to be an all-star, but I think he’s also got the mindset to handle all the pressure that comes along with it, to handle the media, and be great with fans.

Mallex Smith (23 yrs old, cf/lf, MLB) – Speaking of run tools, Mallex can fly and he’d be our starting center fielder on opening day if we hadn’t made the tough decision to trade Shelby Miller last off-season. We think he could become the kind of table-setter who can walk 100 times and steal 35 bases. He’s also great with fans. He’s as cool as the other side of the pillow when it comes to handling interviews and interactions with the public.

Sean Newcomb (23 yrs old, sp, AA) – If you’re looking for a Sale replacement, Newcomb might be the closest thing in the minors. I won’t lie, he’s got to work on his control, but you can’t hit what you can’t see and he combines his huge frame with a great deceptive fastball to get whiffs. Sound like somebody you know? Baseball America also said this about him: “…almost impossible to take deep.”

Travis Demeritte (22 yrs old, 2b/3b, A+) – Demeritte is a gold glove infielder in the making who could hit 40 home runs some day, even if he has some contact issues. How would you like a Todd Frazier-esque player on a rookie contract and with the chance to give your hitting instructors a chance to mold Travis into everything Todd could have been?

Braxton Davidson (20 yrs old, OF, A+) – I know, I know. Davidson’s numbers don’t jump out at anyone but ask literally any scout who’s met him and they’ll tell you Davidson was born to be a major league hitter. He’s looks like a left-handed Justin Upton out there. We pushed him a little too aggressively into high-A last season and I think he’ll figure it out this year.

Of course, since we’d be parting with so many position players, I’d like to get back some org depth in the trade.

Courtney Hawkins – I know Kenny really liked Hawkins when you picked him, but the kid’s stalled out in AA at 22 years old. I’d like the chance to at least give our kids down in AA a chance to play with a guy who has probably learned to handle failure and can teach them about the pressure of being a post-hype non-prospect.

Eddie Alvarez – Just looking to bring back some depth in AAA. The guy’s 26 and my sources say he’s destined to put up some nice seasons in Korea before he retires.

Snit’s going to kill me if I let Ozzie go, but such is life. We also need to talk about Todd Frazier after we complete this deal. I need somebody to hit some balls onto I-75 in the upcoming seasons. So, what do you say? Should we make a splash?




Dear Nick,

I find your proposal interesting for a few reasons, but not the least of which is that Sale  is miles better than one Shelby Miller, yet this return seems awfully light considering what you were able to get back from Arizona for him a year ago.

Now look, I’m not trying to rob you the way you did the Diamondbacks (an otherworldly feat), but if Dansby Swanson is worth a Shelby Miller, then he’s most certainly worth a Chris Sale, and none of the guys on the table quite hit that level.

Let’s hit up a happy hour to discuss this a little more.


PS: When I saw “Ozzie Albies” I read it as “Ozzie Albers.” Just saying.

The Red Sox came calling not long after, with an offer from Nick Koss.

FROM: Nick Koss <kossthebossoftheredsox @ gmail . com>
SUBJ: An offer for Sale


The Red Sox would like to extend the following trade offer for LHP Chris Sale:

Rafael Devers
Blake Swihart
Luis Alexander Basabe
Yankory Pimentel (
Enmanuel DeJesus (

This package is a great package to kickoff your rebuild. It features Devers, who had a great season at high A last year and should be ready for AA this year, with a good chance to be major league ready midway through 2018. He will be the third baseman of the future for the White Sox. Blake Swihart can step into the catching position on Opening Day 2017. He is going into his age 25 season, so he still has room to develop while being productive at the major league level. Luis Alexander Basabe is a 20-year-old who will become one of the most exciting young prospects in your system immediately upon arrival. With 4 average-or-better tools, once he adds strength he will become a great all-around player. Pimentel and DeJesus are the kind of young pitchers that offer incredible upside and figure to be ready to pitch for the next White Sox contender.

Overall, this package offers great talent now, as well as talent that will develop into something great. For a team such as yourself that wants to look to the future, there are no better packages out there that fit with your team focus.


Hey there Nick, thanks for the message – it’d certainly be cool to see Chris remain in a Sox uniform of some kind (hope you don’t wear throwbacks very often!)

But I’m wondering if a second page of this offer maybe got lost in the Series of Tubes or perhaps got eaten by the Internet? Don’t see any other messages in my inbox or spam or anything.

Cuz unless Moncada, Benintendi, or Bradley is included, I can’t see us really going along with it. The other players involved are nice, but I feel like we need a headliner type. Let me know, because I think something can be worked out.

Let’s talk this over with some whiskey this week.


Here’s where things started to get a bit interesting, as Mark McCurry submitted an offer on behalf of the other Chicago team, the defending World Champion Chicago Cubs.

FROM: McCurry, Mark <McCubbie @ gmail . com>
SUBJ: Cubs offer

Ok, offer is for Sale and David Robertson. We will assume all salaries owed for Robertson

The offer: 1. Jorge Soler. Pretty self explanatory, excellent upside established MLB player, just needs everyday at bats to succeed.
2. Dylan Cease RHP. B+ prospect 20, would have been 1st round pick if not for TJ. 2.25 Era in the minors and a fastball that hits 100 post TJ
3. Ian Happ. B+ prospect 22. 1st rounder in 2015, almost MLB ready with a good power speed combo. Can also play the OF.
4. Thomas Hatch RHP. 22. Our top 2016 pick. Good college pedigree. Mid 90s fastball and a plus slider.

All prospects will be MLB ready within 2 seasons. *as a added bonus we will include season tickets in a luxury suite so the ChiSox executives can see how a team is properly ran.


Hey there Mark,

Thanks for the message, it’s great to hear from you and I’m glad the Cubs have decided to put an offer out. You know what they say about trading in-division, though, and even though we’re not in the same division, we ARE in the same city, and PR matters, so we’re gonna need a bit more in order to make a deal happen for Sale. After all, we wouldn’t want the Condor pitching for the Juggernaut Cubs in a couple of World Series games (or, god forbid, the deciding game of the BP Cup) unless the offer is really worth our time.

Schwarber, Contreras, and/or Baez would have to be on the table in order to even start conversations; more than likely, we would need two of them, in addition to the players that you mentioned.

Instead of Sale, could I interest you in a Nate Jones? Hit me up in DC, let’s chat.


Then  Alex Crisafulli slid into my inbox with another NL Central related trade proposal.

FROM: Crisafulli, Alex <alexcards79 @>
SUBJ: Best trade in baseball

Last season, Adam Wainwright, who’s on the wrong side of 35, had the worst run prevention peripherals for his career. Alex Reyes has lots of promise but the reality is his command is so far a bit unbecoming for a dominant major league starter. Carlos Martinez didn’t take a step back in 2016 but he didn’t take a giant step forward either. And Michael Wacha is now a second baseman.

Translation: The Cardinals need an ace. Unfortunately, the right trade for Chris Sale is not easy to come by, if it was I believe it would have happened by now. To remedy this I’m throwing another team in the mix. Here we go:

The White Sox send Chris Sale to the Cardinals.
The Cubs send Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and relinquish control of the @bestfansstl account to the White Sox.
The Cardinals send Jason Heyward, Jon Jay, and Mike Matheny to the Cubs.

Rarely is a trade so obvious on its face that it needs no explanation but this is one of those trades. Make it happen, Mo.


Dear Alex,

Intriguing. You know, the Cubs hit me up with an offer earlier and I wasn’t quite moved by it, but I’m willing to discuss a potential three-way under the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” doctrine.

Tell you what, if there’s a way to send one, maybe two, of your championships to the South Side, I think we can really pull this off. How about, say, 1964 and 2006? You’ll still have 1967, so you can totally give up another one for that decade. You also weren’t even supposed to win in 2006 (83 wins? C’mon) so that one is totally expendable.

If we get a couple more flags it’ll really knock the Cubs down a peg, which I think is in your best interest as well. Think about it and get back to me in DC this week. I know you know where all the good bars are. 


Darius Austin submitted an non-player-centric offer on behalf of the Giants.

FROM: Darius Austin <DariusAllStarBaseball64 @ gmail . com>
SUBJ: San Francisco offer for Sale

Hi Brandon,

As San Francisco Giants GM, I’m aware that it’s no secret that our farm system is not held in the highest regard, despite the fact that we repeatedly turn borderline prospects into above-average major league regulars. I will therefore not limit my offer to prospects alone, and instead will give you the following for Chris Sale:

-Three-time World Series-winning manager Bruce Bochy.
-A one-week specialist catching camp, taught by the game’s best catcher, 2012 NL MVP, Buster Posey, for any catchers on your major or minor league roster. Buster’s skills include framing, throwing out runners, and posing with vegetables.
-The opportunity to play any five home series of your choice (including postseason games) in the league’s best ballpark, AT&T.
-We will take James Shields, saving you $42 million over the next two years for a pitcher who is clearly below replacement level.
-Shortstop prospect C.J. Hinojosa, who made multiple appearances on remarkably prescient baseball expert Carson Cistulli’s Fringe Five list in 2016, an excellent portent of future success. Names previously appearing towards the top of the Fringe Five leaderboard have included Mookie Betts, Jose Ramirez, Willson Contreras, Danny Salazar and Stephen Piscotty. This, combined with the mere fact that C.J. has been in the Giants system, essentially guarantees major league success.

I look forward to your favourable response.


Hi Darius,

The Sox do love picking up Hall of Fame players near the end of their playing careers (Ken Griffey, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, and Roberto Alomar all spent time with the White Sox), so we’d like for you to include a PTBNL that won’t be redeemed for 5 seasons, at which point we will gladly take Posey here on the South Side. Then he can put on ALL of the clinics!

The Bochy aspect of the deal is what piques my interest, but I think in order to get it done, we’re going to need some of your minor league player development staff. Like, all of them. You DO have a knack for developing borderline prospects into MLB regulars, and that’s just what we need. In fact, we think they’ll go along perfectly with Hinojosa, New Above Average White Sox Infielder Of The Future.


Mike Carlucci sent over an offer from the Dodgers that…is the start of something workable!

FROM: Mike Carlucci <YNotWing @ dodgers . com>
SUBJ: Investigation Is Implied In My Mandate As Dodgers GM

Hi Brandon,

This is obviously the best trade because the Dodgers are turning things all the way up to 11 and Chris Sale will be the crown jewel to one of the biggest trades this winter.

Dodgers get: SP Chris Sale, SP James Shields, 2B Brett Lawrie, and RP Michael Ynoa.
White Sox get: 2B/OF Howie Kendrick, SP Julio Urias, OF Yasiel Puig, OF Tryace Thompson

The Dodgers will take on Sale and the remainder of the Shields contract, the somewhat stalled but still a bit promising Lawrie, and Michael Ynoa because why not. Remember how exciting it was when the A’s signed him at 16? Let’s all believe again.

In return, the White Sox get JULIO URIAS. Left handed magic on a mound. Is that not enough? Well they also get Yasiel Puig. Is he capable of a big year? Absolutely. Will it happen? Maybe? And if he does, should the Sox rebuild, they can flip him for a bigger haul in return.

The second baseman swap doesn’t necessarily do much for Chicago but they won’t have to leave a void in the infield. And Trayce Thompson returns to Chicago. Is that enough for Chris Sale? It could be. Urias won’t contribute in 2017 but he’ll be good for years to come.



A tempting offer. Very tempting indeed. Urias and Puig definitely make for the cornerstones of a good deal — Urias made the bigs before the age of 20 (that’s really good!) and we’ve had our eyes on Puig for a long time without being able to work something out, so this provides a great opportunity for that. Not sure this is enough coming back our way, but it’s not something we can’t work around.

Although, to be honest, we don’t want Thompson back (we traded him away for a reason [his Pog addition was getting out of hand {whoops, I probably shouldn’t have said that}]).

Generally – we’re giving up too much, and you’re giving up too little. Any way you can get Klay Thompson to come play for the Bulls instead? Don’t forget, Reinsdorf owns them too.

But really, if there’s a version of this trade where it’s Urias, Puig, and a few other minor leaguers for Sale and Shields, it’s a winner.

This is the start of something. Hit me up in DC, we’ll chat.



If I’m the White Sox I definitely want that big prospect to drive the deal home, and that’s what the Carlucci Dodgers and IRL Nationals are offering. The Red Sox and Braves are offering the depth we need to rebuild the farm system, but it’s harder to get a team to agree to the headliner prospect than the depth players. There are plenty of happy hours in the DMV to go over the finer details, but I could see any of these working out — Chris Sale offers RANKED:

  1. Dodgers (counter-offer version of Urias, Puig, other minor leaguers)
  2. Nationals (IRL)
  3. a big gap
  4. Red Sox
  5. Braves



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2 Responses to “Trading (Imaginary) Chris Sale”

  1. Nick

    I’m awarding myself the 3.9 position since both top prospects offered are higher in the minors than Devers (pretty close to MLB ready), were both top-20 mid-season BA prospects, and Mallex Smith has nearly doubled Swihart’s career WAR in 3/4 as many games.

    Aiming high.

  2. Andrew Patrick

    I bet if you would pushed you could have gotten at least Figmaster and left them with Theoht. I think that’d seal the deal.


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