We got some action on the Hot Stove to end the year. The Braves added to their rotation, acquiring seven-time All-Star Chris Sale from the Red Sox. Boston added some young infield depth in the trade and took a chance on free-agent Lucas Giolito. In Cincinnati, the Reds brought in a potential bounce-back candidate in Frankie Montas. Let’s take a look at what it all means.
Braves trade Vaughn Grissom for Chris Sale
One of the best teams in baseball added some high-upside depth to their starting rotation on Saturday. Atlanta acquired left-hander Chris Sale from the Red Sox for infielder Vaughn Grissom. Boston also sent cash, covering $17 million of Sale’s $27.5 million left on the final year of his contract. For $10.5 million, it’s an excellent gamble on the former seven-time All-Star, considering the money going out to free-agent pitchers this winter. While Sale was expected to be the ace of the Red Sox pitching staff, he joins a Braves rotation that already features Spencer Strider, Max Fried, and Charlie Morton. The 34-year-old southpaw has had trouble staying healthy over the last several seasons, pitching a cumulative 151 innings since 2019. He logged 102 2/3 innings last season while missing roughly ten weeks with left shoulder inflammation, recording a 4.30 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and a 125/29 K/BB ratio. Sale can still miss bats at an elite rate for a starting pitcher. His 29.4 percent strikeout rate last season ranked tenth among all starters with at least 100 innings. He ended the season on a strong note, posting a 2.88 ERA with 29 strikeouts over 25 innings across his last five starts. Early Steamer projections have Sale slated for a 3.74 ERA with 163 strikeouts across 141 frames. His NFBC draft cost of 182 in December is sure to rise with the anticipation of more wins in Atlanta, but it could pay off if Sale can avoid extended missed time in 2024.
For the Red Sox, it’s an opportunity to start fresh as they add a 22-year-old second baseman in Grissom for Sale’s expiring contract. Grissom has struggled to find playing time on a loaded Braves team. His defensive deficiencies have prevented him from taking over at shortstop. And the team has Ozzie Albies locked in a second base. If still with the Braves, he was expected to compete for outfield reps with Jarred Kelenic, possibly ending up in a platoon. Red Sox manager Craig Breslow said Saturday that the team views Grissom as a potential everyday player. With Trevor Story set at…