The Boston Red Sox announced Tuesday that they have traded top prospect Yoan Moncada to the Chicago White Sox for ace starting pitcher Chris Sale.
The Sox also gave up right-handed pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz and outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe.
In Sale, the Red Sox get one of the very best pitchers in baseball, and one who will turn 28 around the start of next season. He is signed through 2017 with a team option for the following two years, leaving him under team control for three seasons.
He has been named an All-Star in each of the last five seasons, in which time he finished no lower than sixth place in Cy Young Award voting.
His career ERA is 3.00, and he is baseball's active leader in both strikeouts per nine (10.1) and strikeout to walk rate (4.78). He is a workhorse, pitching 226.2 innings last season and amassing 1,015.2 in his last five years.
It wasn't all good for Sale in 2016, though. The White Sox suspended him for five days without pay for violating team rules after he reportedly destroyed throwback uniforms the team was supposed to wear with a knife because he didn't like the jersey's collar and didn't want to wear one.
Adding Sale to the front of a rotation featuring David Price and reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello instantly alters the pitching landscape of the American League East. Boston's other options behind those three include knuckleballer Steven Wright, swingman Drew Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez and Clay Buchholz.
In Moncada, though, the Red Sox give up one of baseball's most promising star prospects. Signed out of Cuba in 2015, he has done nothing but tear through the minor leagues, drawing comparisons to Robinson Cano and slashing .287/.295/.480/.875 with 23 homers and 94 stolen bases in 187 games. In its midseason rankings, Baseball America called Moncada the best prospect in the game.
Moncada did not appear ready through his first eight major league games this year. But with the team trading third baseman Travis Shaw earlier Tuesday, he would have figured to get more of a look in Boston's infield next season.
Kopech, meanwhile, does not have the high floor of Moncada, but is a hard thrower who struck out 13.7 batters per nine innings at two Single-A levels last season. He did, however, walk 5.3 per nine. If the 20-year-old is able to improve his control, his potential could be huge.