With Chris Sale shipping up to Boston, the rival’s move effects the New York Yankees in more ways than one.
Anytime a huge move — like Chris Sale being traded to the Boston Red Sox — to a rival of the New York Yankees, they will be affected one way or another.
So, how exactly does this impact the Bombers? Other than bring an end to false rumors, this trade unquestionably brings a lot into consideration and inquisition. Let’s break it down:
The Boston Red Sox have become indisputable World Series favorites:
The defending AL East champions have one of the most impressive trio leading their rotation.
Sale (17-10, 3.34 ERA), Rick Porcello (22-4, 3.15 ERA and CY Young award winner) and David Price (17-9, 3.99).
The team slugged their way to the American League Division series but the rotation, that finished with the third-best ERA, overcame their lack of depth and have now added one of the best arms in the game.
Since 2013, only Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw have more strikeouts than the Sox’s new southpaw and while they lost the services of David Ortiz, they have superseded his value (5.1 WAR) with Sale’s 4.9 WAR.
Maybe “indisputable” was an inaccurate word, but the next point would justify that.
Boston would be smart to add an influential bat:
This week, reports hinted that the Red Sox were out on the sweepstakes for Edwin Encarnacion but that could very well change.
Yoan Moncada, one of the prospects dealt to Chicago in the deal, was in the midst of a $63 million contract so, notwithstanding the $31 million in bonuses they’ll still pay, everything kind of equals out with Sale.
Boston will have Sale under team control until 2020 at a fairly inexpensive rate. The White Sox sensibly inked him to a five-year contract extension in 2013 that features two team option years.
So, the Red Sox could keep Sale for $12 million in 2016, $12.5 million in 2018 and $13.5 million in 2019.
Along with gaining a 27-year old perennial Cy Young candidate, they gain some flexibility to go out and replace Ortiz’s offensive output with Encarnacion’s bat.
The Yankees must take a step back:
Look, as hard as it is to acknowledge, the Yankees cannot be certain any move made this winter will warrant them a winning season, let alone compete with Boston and their new ace — Sale’s 1.17 ERA vs Yankees is lowest by any pitcher over the last 100 years.
There are just too many “ifs.”
Now, more than ever, it’s clear that Cashman has to go all in on his rebuild. Continue to shave, sell and assess the talent coming up.
With the most recent trade of Brian McCann, New York has roughly $149 million on the books — before arbitration — with Alex Rodriguez’s $21 million and CC Sabathia’s $25 million coming off the books by 2018.
The Yankees may finally get beneath the threshold, and if you’re wondering why that is such an intent, once they get below it, their tax rate will subsequently be reset. Rather than paying 50% for exceeding the threshold, Steinbrenner and co. will only be taxed 20%.
Therefore, the organization needs to see what they have in the Baby Bombers — Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Luis Cessa, Chad Green and approaching kids in Justus Sheffield, Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres and James Kaprielian — while parting ways with veterans with little future in the Bronx to fall below that threshold.
While these kids, who make close to league minimum for the next several years, develop, it provides the organization some time to appraise the talent they can employ, and talent they should separate from.
By the time a firm core is installed, the intent of sitting comfortability under the luxury tax threshold will be achieved by the time superstars like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Donaldson and more are projected to hit the open market.
That is when the Yankees will be World Series caliber while reigniting their rivalry with the Boston Red Sox.
This is nothing new. For a few months now I’ve been preaching patience, avoid Yankee-like temptations and to not jump on this free agent class — one that won’t build a championship caliber team.
Tolerance, for now, is still expected. Stay the course.
After all, there has only been speculative talk about what the future could look like. Yankees’ fans should now see, with the juggernaut created in their division, that it has matured into a genuine actuality.