NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Red Sox have struck for a blockbuster trade that makes an already solid team a potentially fearsome one, acquiring lefty ace Chris Sale from the White Sox on Tuesday for a four-prospect package that includes infielder Yoan Moncada. Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced the trade.The Red Sox will also send highly touted pitching prospect Michael Kopech, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and right-hander Victor Diaz to Chicago. Moncada is the top-ranked prospect in the game, according to MLB Pipeline.com.
As recently as Monday, Dombrowski said he didn't feel a driving force to add a starting pitcher.But he did anyway, making the latest mega-deal of his career. Over the years, Dombrowski has traded for marquee players like Gary Sheffield while with Marlins; Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer, David Price and Ian Kinsler during his stint with the Tigers; and Craig Kimbrel last year for Boston.After landing Price a year ago in free agency, the Red Sox have now added a five-time All-Star in Sale who is in the prime of his career at 27 years old. The rotation also includes American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, lefties Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz and veteran Clay Buchholz.With the acquisition of Sale, the Red Sox could seek to move Buchholz's $13.5 million salary to move some money off the payroll.Considering the cost of elite starting pitchers, Sale's contract that the Red Sox inherit is a bargain, which explains why the player compensation was so significant.Sale will earn $12 million in 2017, and there are club options for '18 ($12.5 million) and '19 ($13.5 million). The trade gives the White Sox a chance to build for the future with two potential cornerstone players.Kopech, who throws 100 mph, was ranked No. 5 among Red Sox prospects.For the White Sox, the deal ends months of speculation that Sale could be on the move. Following Monday's first day of the Winter Meetings, the Nationals were perceived as the favorite to land Sale.But the Red Sox charged hard on Tuesday to close the deal, their second of the day. Boston acquired righty setup man Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers for left-handed-hitting infielder Travis Shaw, two Minor Leaguers and a player to be named or cash considerations.Sale, who turns 28 in March, went 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA last season, striking out 233 and walking 45 in 226 2/3 innings.Though the AL East is traditionally the toughest for pitchers, Sale should have what it takes to thrive. Last season, he went 6-0 with a 1.55 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP in six starts against the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays and Orioles.With much fanfare in March 2015, the Red Sox signed Moncada to a record-setting deal ($31.5 million signing bonus) for an amateur player. In total, Boston invested $63 million for the switch-hitter from Cuba due to a penalty for going over the international bonus limit. The 21-year-old Moncada swiftly rose through the farm system and was a September callup this season, but he quickly fell into a slump, striking out in nine straight at-bats.Many talent evaluators have compared Moncada to Robinson Cano. He hit .294/.407/.511 with 15 home runs and 62 RBIs in 106 games between Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland last season.The 20-year-old Kopech, Boston's first-round pick in the 2014 Draft, went 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 12 starts between Class A Short-Season Lowell and Salem in 2016.Basabe ranked No. 8 among Boston prospects, while Diaz was No. 28.The Nationals were reportedly willing to offer their two top prospects, Lucas Giolito and Victor Robles, in a package for Sale. But the Red Sox won out, and they should go into the season as heavy favorites to win the AL East.Boston won the division last season with 93 wins before being swept by the Indians in the AL Division Series.