When the Boston Red Sox were swept by the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS this past season, they were given a stark reminder of the fact that sometimes having the best offense in baseball isn’t enough. In fact, it’s almost always not enough.
Their outfield is uber-talented but also very young, and while AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello was a godsend for the team as the months wore on, the Red Sox starting rotation lacked consistency outside of him. As soon as the bats went cold, their season was over.
So the Red Sox blockbuster trade for Chris Sale on Tuesday was a major step in the right direction; a step that already has executives around the rest of the AL East shaking in their boots; and for good reason.
Chris Sale absolutely steamrolled the AL East in 2016.
Chris Sale went 6-0 with a 1.55 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in 6 starts against NYY, TOR, TB & BAL last season. https://t.co/CnmQg14llC
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 6, 2016
Chris Sale: 1.17 ERA vs Yankees is lowest by any pitcher in last 100 years (min . 50 IP).
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) December 6, 2016
He’s also pretty good against the Red Sox themselves, too.
If you can’t beat him, get him.
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) December 6, 2016
So they removed a rival American League pitcher from their path by adding him to their roster and now the Red Sox starting lineup includes Porcello, Sale and David Price, who despite having a down season last year is still a very dangerous pitcher looking to have a bounce back season. If all three of those guys play to their full potential, the Red Sox are poised to be the best team in the AL.
And not only did they get better defensively by bringing on Sale, they didn’t even have to give up any of their best young players to do so. Their young core of Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts is still completely – and somewhat inexplicably – intact.
So Yankees fans, how’re you feeling right about now?
— Keith (@KeithRusso) December 6, 2016
Sounds about right.