Remember this past offseason, when the Chicago Cubs – like so many other teams – were looking for a controllable starting pitcher in trade, given that the free agent market was rough, and the team’s needs for pitching extends beyond 2017? Remember how the biggest and best name on the market was Chris Sale, and how there were reports that the White Sox flat out wouldn’t trade with the Cubs? (Sale was ultimately traded to the Red Sox, where he has posted absolutely stupid good numbers through his first seven starts.)
Well, Cubs President Theo Epstein circled back to that in an interview with 670 The Score today, and explained that, sure, the White Sox would trade with the Cubs for a player like Sale … if they were getting an absurd return.
“We had a really quick conversation about Sale,” Epstein told 670 The Score. “It lasted about 30 seconds based on some of the names involved that he would want. And not prospects, but big league players.”
It’s fair to wonder whom the White Sox would have wanted at the time, but if it were multiple big league pieces, it’s not hard to imagine the White Sox asking for guys like Kyle Schwarber and Javy Baez and Kyle Hendricks, if not even guys like Addison Russell and Willson Contreras. I can’t fathom a request the White Sox would make – knowing that they had to REALLY win a trade with the Cubs to justify it in the city – that the Cubs would deem anything close to reasonable. So a 30-second trade talk sounds about right.
Long-term, Epstein wouldn’t rule out trade talks with the White Sox, but he did admit that the “reality of the situation” makes it very difficult for the teams to come together on a trade.
Each side obviously wants to do the best for its own organization, but when the White Sox have to compete so directly with the Cubs in the Chicago market, you can at least understand why – all else equal – they wouldn’t want to see Chris Sale doing at Wrigley what he’s been doing in Boston. You can criticize that mentally, of course, but that’s the perspective.
Of course, the Cubs are currently only a game better than the White Sox, so maybe hold onto those stones …