The biggest expected trade at this week's MLB Winter Meetings was the Chicago White Sox dealing Chris Sale. And they have done so to Boston, making the Red Sox the clear American League betting favorites entering the 2017 season.
On Monday night, it appeared the Washington Nationals were the team that was going to land Sale with a package led by pitching prospect Lucas Giolito and outfielder Victor Robles. But that seemed not equal value as the White Sox wanted Trea Turner, but Washington said no.
Thus White Sox GM Rick Hahn went back to the Boston Red Sox and told them that he was going to take the Washington deal unless Boston improved its offer. The Red Sox did so, sending a package built around prospects Yoan Moncada, a Cuban infielder, and pitcher Michael Kopech and two other minor-leaguers to be named. Moncada is rated Boston's No. 1 prospect and Kopech No. 5. The White Sox probably aren't done trading as they are in full rebuild mode now.
Now Boston has a stellar rotation headed by Sale, fellow lefty David Price and 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. Sale has been one of the five best pitchers in baseball over the past five years. He was 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA last year. Sale's contract is also very team-friendly; he's owed just $38 million over the next three seasons, assuming any team picks up his team options for 2018 and 2019. Boston gave up a lot but also didn't have to deal of its current big-league players like a Jackie Bradley or Andrew Benintendi.
The Red Sox are now +400 favorites on MLB odds to win the AL pennant, just ahead of reigning league champion Cleveland. The Red Sox also are now second-favorites on MLB picks at +600 to win the World Series behind the champion Chicago Cubs (+350).