I like Chris Sale. I think he's pretty darn awesome. Above anyone else, he is the current player that gets me most excited as a White Sox fan. However, I do think there is some legitimate concern about his durability. I realize that last year was his first season starting in the big leagues. I realize that he never threw as many innings as he did. I also saw his velocity fluctuate from start to start, particularly towards the end of the season. Sale also skipped a scheduled start at times because of the lowered velocity, and when he returned, the velocity would jump back up. However it would then start to decline again until his next vacation. Throw in the concerns about his mechanics, body type, performance in the second half of 2012 and a high slider percentage and there are some red flags.
Even taking all of those red flags into account, Sale was impressive last season as he went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA and recording 192 strikeouts in 192 innings. He is also only 24-years old when the season starts and under team control until 2017. That is obviously an extremely valuable talent. Next season, Sale starts his arbitration cycle and will be due a nice raise. His trade value will probably never be higher than it is right now.
It is well known that the Sox don't have many valuable trade chips. Sale is certainly one. I would be willing to bet that if Rick Hahn put Chris Sale's name out there, you would get hits from most major league teams. You could ask for the moon and not get laughed out of the ballpark. The A's did it with Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill and ended up with Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, Ryan Cook and other pieces that haven't contributed in the majors yet. The Rays just parted with James Shields and scored the top prospect in all of baseball in Wil Myers.
I'm not saying that they should actively look to trade Chris Sale. But they have to listen on him. Just like the Marlins should be listening for Giancarlo Stanton. If a team is willing to go above and beyond, I would not be against a trade. Even though seeing Sale succeed on a team other than the White Sox would hurt pretty bad, the long term future of the club might be better if they did move him.