Earlier this week, Buster Olney reported that the White Sox had informed the Cubs that they would not be making any intracity trades. Cubs might have a great offer for Chris Sale? Doesn’t matter. It won’t happen.
It was something of an explicit confirmation of an expectation that has hovered around town for over a decade, so, while it was newsworthy, it was hardly surprising.
But what about hearing straight from the horses’ mouths?
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer was asked about the report, and he, too, expressed a lack of surprise about any of this.
“[A team would] always listen to the merits of a deal,” Hoyer told the Tribune and Sun-Times, among others. “They’re in the business of getting better and in the business of doing the best deal. But I don’t think anything written has been the least bit surprising. I don’t expect a lot of deals done between the White Sox and Cubs. I don’t think I’m saying anything surprising when I say that.”
Hoyer elaborated that, in his view, it’s tough to get a deal done in a single city where there would be so much scrutiny on both sides. He simply doesn’t expect the Cubs and White Sox to get together on a trade.
This is all exactly correct. Each side might listen on a deal – because you always do – but there would be so much extra caution involved, especially if there were a superstar like Sale in play, that the pressure not to get a trade like that wrong would make it too difficult to complete. Right or wrong, the White Sox would want an exorbitantly high price from the Cubs for Sale – a price the Cubs would never pay. Thus, it’s not going to happen.
White Sox GM Rick Hahn offered his perspective, and I think it’s what you would expect a wise GM to say in this situation:
— Dan Hayes (@CSNHayes) November 30, 2016
None of that, you’ll note, excludes the practical reality of why a trade would never happen. Maybe the White Sox wouldn’t announce publicly that they’d never deal with the Cubs (that would be foolish), but that doesn’t mean they would choose a trade offer from the Cubs if it was only marginally better than another offer out there.
All in all, this is what you’d expect everyone to say, and is mostly academic. The end of the day remains the same: don’t expect a big deal between these teams any time soon.