Last week, I noted that the South Side Sox Offseason Plan Project was roughly divided between trading a starter and keeping everybody important. More plans wanted to keep Chris Sale (37) than trade him (32), but that’s partially because it’s easier for us armchair GMs to envision a traditional winter than a full-scale overhaul. That was acknowledged by several rosterbators then, and although it’s 44-35 in favor of keeping Sale now, I imagine the sentiment is closer to 50-50.
What would happen if real, actual baseball executives took over the project? Jerry Crasnick can help shed some insight into that question. He published the results of his annual leaguewide survey on various high-interest topics, one of which is The Condor. He interviewed “38 baseball people (general managers, assistant GMs, scouts and one MLB manager),” so this ought to give us a better sense of which way the White Sox are leaning:
6. Will Chris Sale be traded this offseason? If your answer is yes, what do you think is his most likely destination?
Responses: No, 18: Yes, 18; No response, 2.
OH COME ON.
And the second part to this question:
Most likely destination: Red Sox 5; Dodgers 4; Yankees, Nationals and Rangers, 2 each; Cubs, Braves and Astros, 1 each.
The Nationals are the least-frequently mentioned of the bunch, but there are no real surprises. Seeing these names in a row makes me wonder if there’s one more great Red Sox-Yankees bidding war in store.
The quotes Crasnick fields about the topic are the ones we’ve been hearing — the White Sox and Sale have grown tired of each other, but Jerry Reinsdorf would have to sign off on it, and the contract’s just so team-friendly.
Crasnick’s surveys aren’t exactly crystal balls, and splashy moves by outside teams tend to surprise them as much as anybody (Mariners and Robinson Cano, for instance). But when looking at the ones from 2015, 2014 and 2013, the field errs on the side of caution when it comes to player movement, and an even split is about as safe as it gets.
Meanwhile, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo wrote “White Sox GM Rick Hahn is open for business on just about his entire roster,” but that’s what was said about the Sox at the last deadline, just in different words, and when July turned to August, Zach Duke was the only casualty.
In this hunt for quotes that mean something, Hahn’s “first two moves” line is still the clubhouse leader. (He later amended it to major/signficant moves in order to allow himself room for basic roster maintenance, but that wasn’t enough to stop White Sox fans from hyperventilating in rage about Rymer Liriano.)