Chris Sale (plus $17mil) traded to Atlanta for Vaughn Grissom

grimshaw

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I totally agree with the bolded "at the time" point.
I also think it's fair to "take a look back" at some point that isn't ONE MONTH into the season to see "how it worked out."

How it "might work out" if x, y, or z happens seems to be a waste of time, given the nearly infinite possibilities.
Ya. It's entirely possible Sale is lights out all year and the Sox miss out on the playoffs by a game or two as well as the opportunity to QO him and Grissom doesn't adjust to the big leagues. Or the more likely outcome that Grissom is at least above replacement level and is more of a long term win. It's also possible that Nick Yorke (and his 50 FV) could have filled the same role at some point. Not much to do but wait and see.
 
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jon abbey

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The rotation to start the season was:

Bello
Pivetta
Crawford
Whitlock
Houck

If BOS still had Sale, who would be bumped from that? The point isn't that 'someone will get hurt, it will work out', the point is that Houck or Whitlock or someone else gets bumped from the rotation to start the season, and then it's not so easy to remain stretched out and fit back in once necessary.

So IMO there is almost no possible realistic scenario where the Sale deal is a bad deal no matter what happens going forward, they opened up a rotation spot for one more of their young SPs and they rolled the dice on a possible 2B of the future. I also think that there are very few realistic scenarios where the Giolito signing was a smart move, even if he stayed healthy and was pitching and dominant right now, one of those guys above wouldn't be (and it's not as easy as saying 'Whitlock is out now, he would be in that spot"). Just my perspective...

In the 2021-22 offseason, NY pursued Justin Verlander and even made him a substantial offer. He ended up going back to HOU, but if NY had signed him, he would have bumped Nestor Cortes out of the rotation. Since they didn't sign him, Cortes went on to a spectacular season, pitching in the ASG and winning the deciding game 5 of the ALDS on 3 days rest.
 

Benj4ever

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Ya. It's entirely possible Sale is lights out all year and the Sox miss out on the playoffs by a game or two as well as the opportunity to QO him and Grissom doesn't adjust to the big leagues. Or the more likely outcome that Grissom is at least above replacement level and is more of a long term win. It's also possible that Nick Yorke (and his 50 FV) could have filled the same role at some point. Not much to do but wait and see.
It's not very possible that Sale is lights out all year. The guy will probably break down shortly after the All Star break, if not sooner.
 

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Or we can decide when the trade is made if it was a good one. If it exchanged one set of future possibilities for another set of future possibilities that benefit the club.
Yeah, I don't think Sale's results this season play any role in determining if this was a good trade for the Sox or not. In addition to other factors, there is absolutely no assurance that whatever season he has for the Braves would be the same season he would have had for the Sox.
 

PapnMillsy

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Yeah, I don't think Sale's results this season play any role in determining if this was a good trade for the Sox or not. In addition to other factors, there is absolutely no assurance that whatever season he has for the Braves would be the same season he would have had for the Sox.
Yeah he’d probably be doing much worse because Bailey can’t get anything out of these guys… right?
 

PapnMillsy

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The rotation to start the season was:

Bello
Pivetta
Crawford
Whitlock
Houck

If BOS still had Sale, who would be bumped from that? The point isn't that 'someone will get hurt, it will work out', the point is that Houck or Whitlock or someone else gets bumped from the rotation to start the season, and then it's not so easy to remain stretched out and fit back in once necessary.
would be more than fine bumping Whitlock from the rotation given that he, once again, has broken down after not even a handful of starts. He just isn’t cut out for starting, period. Time to pull the plug on the experiment and put him back in the pen where he shines.
 

joe dokes

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Yeah he’d probably be doing much worse because Bailey can’t get anything out of these guys… right?
Bailey is not a doctor.
would be more than fine bumping Whitlock from the rotation given that he, once again, has broken down after not even a handful of starts. He just isn’t cut out for starting, period. Time to pull the plug on the experiment and put him back in the pen where he shines.
Yeah, having starters who regularly break down with injury is not helpful.
 

joe dokes

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You must not have read the post PapnMillsy was responding to.
This one?:
Yeah, I don't think Sale's results this season play any role in determining if this was a good trade for the Sox or not. In addition to other factors, there is absolutely no assurance that whatever season he has for the Braves would be the same season he would have had for the Sox.
Yeah he’d probably be doing much worse because Bailey can’t get anything out of these guys… right?
Bailey is still not a doctor.
 

radsoxfan

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Yeah, I don't think Sale's results this season play any role in determining if this was a good trade for the Sox or not. In addition to other factors, there is absolutely no assurance that whatever season he has for the Braves would be the same season he would have had for the Sox.
Yeah. The entire trade from the Red sox perspective is about Grissom, and if he pans out or not. Sale being a 6 WAR stud or 0 WAR nothing in 2024 I don't think was a significant part of the calculus.
 

HfxBob

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This one?:

Bailey is still not a doctor.
Everyone understands that Chris Sale is a threat to get injured again at any time. But you can say that for a pretty large number of pitchers now.

It's all about luck, really. Sale had TJ surgery, so have many others. Sale had an injury from a batted ball and one from falling off a bike. He seems perfectly healthy at this moment in time. He has pitched over 190 innings 5 times in his career, so he's proven he can do it. If he has another "wear and tear" type injury soon, then sure, that would bear out all the negative prognostications about him.
 

HfxBob

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Yeah. The entire trade from the Red sox perspective is about Grissom, and if he pans out or not. Sale being a 6 WAR stud or 0 WAR nothing in 2024 I don't think was a significant part of the calculus.
If that's the way the Red Sox front office saw it, that it doesn't matter if Sale is a 6 WAR stud this year or not, it tends to confirm the idea that their statements about wanting to be competitive this year have been bullshit.
 

Fishy1

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Everyone understands that Chris Sale is a threat to get injured again at any time. But you can say that for a pretty large number of pitchers now.

It's all about luck, really. Sale had TJ surgery, so have many others. Sale had an injury from a batted ball and one from falling off a bike. He seems perfectly healthy at this moment in time. He has pitched over 190 innings 5 times in his career, so he's proven he can do it. If he has another "wear and tear" type injury soon, then sure, that would bear out all the negative prognostications about him.
Yeah, but he's also 35. Baseball players in general become more fungible, lose velocity, etc., as they get older. It's just a fact of life. Not blaming Sale but pitchers past 30 are ticking time bombs.
 

Rovin Romine

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If that's the way the Red Sox front office saw it, that it doesn't matter if Sale is a 6 WAR stud this year or not, it tends to confirm the idea that their statements about wanting to be competitive this year have been bullshit.
That's ridiculous.

Sale is an older pitcher they had limited control over. They had younger pitchers they wanted to run out as starters. They have been historically, fantastically, fucking successful with that, by the way, in case you haven't been paying attention.

So they traded Sale for a promising young player to address an area of need (2B) which was both immediate (competing in 2024) and long term (competing when the 36/37 year-old Sale would not be with the club.)
 

nvalvo

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If that's the way the Red Sox front office saw it, that it doesn't matter if Sale is a 6 WAR stud this year or not, it tends to confirm the idea that their statements about wanting to be competitive this year have been bullshit.
It’s not that binary. They could have thought that the dropoff from their *median projection* for Sale to the pitcher who would get his playing time (Houck? Criswell?) would be smaller — even in 2024 — than the expected infield upgrade of adding Grissom. And then we’d still have years of Grissom.

And given that Houck and has been better than Sale so far (and Criswell almost as good) that’s hardly a reach.
 

joe dokes

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Everyone understands that Chris Sale is a threat to get injured again at any time. But you can say that for a pretty large number of pitchers now.

It's all about luck, really. Sale had TJ surgery, so have many others. Sale had an injury from a batted ball and one from falling off a bike. He seems perfectly healthy at this moment in time. He has pitched over 190 innings 5 times in his career, so he's proven he can do it. If he has another "wear and tear" type injury soon, then sure, that would bear out all the negative prognostications about him.
No one is "prognosticating" that he'll get hurt. It's about probabilities and alternatives. And I'm with those that don't really give a shit how well he does with Atlanta. The entire trade analysis depends on how Grissom does.

Sale is an older pitcher they had limited control over. They had younger pitchers they wanted to run out as starters. They have been historically, fantastically, fucking successful with that, by the way, in case you haven't been paying attention.
So they traded Sale for a promising young player to address an area of need (2B) which was both immediate (competing in 2024) and long term (competing when the 36/37 year-old Sale would not be with the club.)
It’s not that binary. They could have thought that the dropoff from their *median projection* for Sale to the pitcher who would get his playing time (Houck? Criswell?) would be smaller — even in 2024 — than the expected infield upgrade of adding Grissom. And then we’d still have years of Grissom.
And given that Houck and has been better than Sale so far (and Criswell almost as good) that’s hardly a reach.
If someone wants to make the "call" on the trade on May 11, then you also have to say that his replacements are doing better than he is, so it was obviously correct to move on from him.
Sale's injury in 2023 was "shoulder inflammation," not his usual freak accident. That *may* have been concerning.
He made it to June 1 last year.
 

HfxBob

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If someone wants to make the "call" on the trade on May 11, then you also have to say that his replacements are doing better than he is, so it was obviously correct to move on from him.
If you arbitrarily designate Houck and Crawford as "his replacements", although I'm not sure why that makes sense. Sale would be #3 in fWAR on the Red Sox right now.
 

Rovin Romine

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If you arbitrarily designate Houck and Crawford as "his replacements", although I'm not sure why that makes sense. Sale would be #3 in fWAR on the Red Sox right now.
When Sale was traded the Sox had in-house resources (including Giolito). The SP depth was:

Giolito/Pivetta/Bello/Crawford/Houck/Whitlock/Winckowski/Criswell/Murphy/Walter. (Anderson and Uwasawa were added later.)​

The FO believed they could get a group of 5 competitive SP out of the SP depth. (And they did.) Consequently, they believed trading Sale (at 2(?) years of control for a mid-30s pitcher) for Grissom (at 5(?) years of control for a 2B) was a better use of resources than keeping Sale somewhere on the SP depth chart.

The post hoc error is honestly tough for some people to get their minds around, and it seems to be causing you some trouble here. What does it matter if Sale has a healthy season or an injured season (both of which are still in play.) What does it matter if Giolito was injured or in an alternate world, Houck was injured and Giolito was putting up "good Giolito" numbers?
 

AB in DC

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The problem is that the jury is still out on Grissom. One year of Sale for 5-ish years of an average+ second baseman is a pretty good deal. But we don't know yet if Grissom is going to be that.
 

Rovin Romine

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The problem is that the jury is still out on Grissom. One year of Sale for 5-ish years of an average+ second baseman is a pretty good deal. But we don't know yet if Grissom is going to be that.
But it's not a problem.

The exchange was whatever one year of Sale might give for whatever 5 years of Grissom might give. We know what Sale's done in the past and we know what Grissom's done in the past. That's the place to evaluate the trade. Is it a reasonable trade to make or not given the needs of the org?

Seems to be given Grissom's track record, the plethora of Sox starters, and the dearth of Sox MIs who are ready to play this year.

We'll get to see how right or wrong the Sox were in their projections of Grissom (and ATL re: Sale), but if he got hit by a bus tomorrow or morphed into Roberto Alomar, the trade is still the same. There's always an exchange of risk and outcomes in possible performances.
 

nvalvo

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Are people already Grissom skeptics? He's 23, spring training, and is probably still feeling the effects of illness.

Also his xwOBA is twice his wOBA. The contact skills are already showing up in the numbers, and the contact quality has been league average. He'll be fine.
 

Fishy1

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Are people already Grissom skeptics? He's 23, spring training, and is probably still feeling the effects of illness.

Also his xwOBA is twice his wOBA. The contact skills are already showing up in the numbers, and the contact quality has been league average. He'll be fine.
Yeah, I mean half the board wanted Alex Cora starting when Dustin Pedroia hit the skids in his first month, so, yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if there's people who want us to go out and get Brandon Drury STAT. They're not vocal yet, but if he continues to struggle through 100 PA, there will definitely be some chatter.

I happen to believe the guy has an elite hit tool, like, a Bogaertian ability to put the ball where they ain't. He isn't hitting the ball hard so far, but he has hit about 30% line drives and only 3 of those have gone for hits.
 

HfxBob

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When I heard about the trade I was dubious for a few reasons. I couldn't understand trading an apparently healthy Sale when everyone seemed to agree we had a serious need to add pitching, not subtract it. I was also surprised we sent Atlanta $17 million in the deal. On the other hand I had concerns that the team was doing this partially to lower payroll.

I also knew virtually nothing about Grissom outside his MLB numbers. I couldn't do much of an equal value assessment. And I think there's a lot of personal perspective-call it bias if you want-involved in how much you as a fan weigh the value of the 2024 season vs. future considerations.
 

AB in DC

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But it's not a problem.

The exchange was whatever one year of Sale might give for whatever 5 years of Grissom might give. We know what Sale's done in the past and we know what Grissom's done in the past. That's the place to evaluate the trade. Is it a reasonable trade to make or not given the needs of the org?
That's too clever by half. Part of evaluating the trade is whether the team's assessment of Grissom was on target, not just based on what he's "done in the past" but by whether he is likely or not to improve on the numbers, and by how much. That's part and parcel with any trade for young talent. It's not purely a probabilistic analysis, where if a coin flip ends up tails three times in a row you can just shrug. It's their scoutuing and analysis of Grissom's likely future path.

If Grissom is a bust (other than for random injury), that's extremely strong evidence that the Sox misjudged him, and that the trade was therefore a bad one. Similarly if he's a stud.
 

Rovin Romine

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That's too clever by half. Part of evaluating the trade is whether the team's assessment of Grissom was on target, not just based on what he's "done in the past" but by whether he is likely or not to improve on the numbers, and by how much. That's part and parcel with any trade for young talent. It's not purely a probabilistic analysis, where if a coin flip ends up tails three times in a row you can just shrug. It's their scoutuing and analysis of Grissom's likely future path.

If Grissom is a bust (other than for random injury), that's extremely strong evidence that the Sox misjudged him, and that the trade was therefore a bad one. Similarly if he's a stud.
I think you protest a bit much. While no prospect is a sure-fire thing, some younger players are much more likely to have a productive ML career than others. If this was Chris Sale for a bunch of underperforming MiL players the Sox thought had hidden potential, or a sketchy reclamation project type of player, I'd agree more with your point.

We know what Grissom is based on his fairly extensive record.
 

BringBackMo

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The problem is that the jury is still out on Grissom. One year of Sale for 5-ish years of an average+ second baseman is a pretty good deal. But we don't know yet if Grissom is going to be that.
We also don’t know yet what Sale is going to be six weeks from now because of a very real and very recent injury history coupled with his age. But the deal, as many others have pointed out, wasn’t really about Sale.
 

BringBackMo

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Are people already Grissom skeptics?
This is the craziest part of it. He had only 240 MLB plate appearances when the Sox traded for him. Even if he hadn’t gotten sick, he’s had a grand total of 33 plate appearances this season. That‘s an absurdly small sample size to be drawing any conclusions from. This board always freaks out about the early MLB struggles of good prospects, but even by our crazy standards, this Is a little ridiculous.
 

HfxBob

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This is the craziest part of it. He had only 240 MLB plate appearances when the Sox traded for him. Even if he hadn’t gotten sick, he’s had a grand total of 33 plate appearances this season. That‘s an absurdly small sample size to be drawing any conclusions from. This board always freaks out about the early MLB struggles of good prospects, but even by our crazy standards, this Is a little ridiculous.
Grissom has great minor league numbers, but there's been some commentary elsewhere on this forum about what a quantum leap it is from AAA pitching to MLB pitching, and seemingly moreso than ever. Grissom had a .921 OPS in AAA last year. But Dalbec had a .938 OPS in AAA last year.
 
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jon abbey

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Grissom had a .921 OPS in AAA last year. But Dalbec had a .938 OPS in AAA last year.
Grissom is 5 1/2 years younger, come on.

No one is saying he is a lock to be a productive MLBer, but it was a good roll of the dice by Breslow, which is all you can really ask for from a trade.
 

HfxBob

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Grissom is 5 1/2 years younger, come on.

No one is saying he is a lock to be a productive MLBer, but it was a good roll of the dice by Breslow, which is all you can really ask for from a trade.
What is a "good" roll of the dice is generally a matter of opinion.

I actually like Breslow quite a bit from what I've seen so far. I hope we have found our CBO for the next decade or so. And I certainly get the rationale for this trade. But I think there are valid reasons to question it, too.

One question that doesn't seem to be addressed much is what happens with Grissom next year if Mayer is ready and Story is healthy? I know that one answer is "well, you trade somebody". That's fine, but it's much different from saying Grissom was traded for to fill a position of need. Especially if 2024 is a writeoff anyway, as many who are in favor of the trade have said.
 

BringBackMo

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Grissom has great minor league numbers, but there's been some commentary elsewhere on this forum about what a quantum leap it is from AAA pitching to MLB pitching, and seemingly moreso than ever. Grissom had a .921 OPS in AAA last year. But Dalbec had a .938 OPS in AAA last year.
The logic of your argument boils down to: The Red Sox should stop trading for prospects who hit well in AAA because Bobby Dalbec didn’t pan out as a major league hitter.
 

Rovin Romine

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What is a "good" roll of the dice is generally a matter of opinion.
Not all opinions are equally worthwhile.

But I think there are valid reasons to question it, too.
Like what, exactly?

One question that doesn't seem to be addressed much is what happens with Grissom next year if Mayer is ready and Story is healthy? I know that one answer is "well, you trade somebody". That's fine, but it's much different from saying Grissom was traded for to fill a position of need. Especially if 2024 is a writeoff anyway, as many who are in favor of the trade have said.
That is the answer, and as you pointed out, it's fine. So scratch that off your "I think there are valid reasons" list. Another answer is that Grissom and Story can play multiple positions, spelling the LHH Mayer and/or giving Devers a day off. But we'll cross that bridge if and when we come to it.

Also, I'm not sure who are these "many" who think 2024 is a write off.

I think you're emphasizing that to try to diminish the fact that Grissom addressed an immediate area of need (2B).
 

nvalvo

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Grissom has great minor league numbers, but there's been some commentary elsewhere on this forum about what a quantum leap it is from AAA pitching to MLB pitching, and seemingly moreso than ever. Grissom had a .921 OPS in AAA last year. But Dalbec had a .938 OPS in AAA last year.
Two things:

Dalbec has huge power that enabled him to post that big OPS despite a ~30% strikeout rate in AAA. Grissom is a very different hitter, so he got to that OPS in a very different way: including 66 strikeouts (and 56 walks!) in 465 PA. That’s less than half of Dalbec’s K rate, which I think suggests a smoother transition.

But not an effortless one! And the fact that he’s sort of already had his sophomore slump with the Braves (at an age when Dalbec was literally in rookie ball) is another good sign.
 

HfxBob

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Also, I'm not sure who are these "many" who think 2024 is a write off.

I think you're emphasizing that to try to diminish the fact that Grissom addressed an immediate area of need (2B).
There are a number here who have said it doesn't matter how well Sale pitches this year, and have either flat out said 2024 doesn't matter, or strongly implied it.

You are not one of those people. But please don't try to tell me I'm not reading what I'm reading.
 

HfxBob

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Two things:

Dalbec has huge power that enabled him to post that big OPS despite a ~30% strikeout rate in AAA. Grissom is a very different hitter, so he got to that OPS in a very different way: including 66 strikeouts (and 56 walks!) in 465 PA. That’s less than half of Dalbec’s K rate, which I think suggests a smoother transition.

But not an effortless one! And the fact that he’s sort of already had his sophomore slump with the Braves (at an age when Dalbec was literally in rookie ball) is another good sign.
You are making some solid points.

Part of my problem is that I really like Chris Sale, in spite of all his injuries and the wasted dough. Another part is that I really did think we were going hard for the playoffs this year. I'm biased for those reasons, I freely admit it.
 

HfxBob

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I'll ask again: "What do you think are the valid reasons to question the trade?"
Stop being disingenuous. The reasons are obvious. If healthy Sale could be a 4+ WAR pitcher this year. There was a vesting option in his contract for 2025. We gave the Braves $17 million. Grissom is an unknown quantity.

Yes, I get the reasons FOR the trade, too.
 

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You are making some solid points.

Part of my problem is that I really like Chris Sale, in spite of all his injuries and the wasted dough. Another part is that I really did think we were going hard for the playoffs this year. I'm biased for those reasons, I freely admit it.
What problem with the current team is solved by having Chris Sale pitching on it? Unless he can hit and play first or second, he'd simply be making a strength marginally better.
 

chrisfont9

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Grissom has great minor league numbers, but there's been some commentary elsewhere on this forum about what a quantum leap it is from AAA pitching to MLB pitching, and seemingly moreso than ever. Grissom had a .921 OPS in AAA last year. But Dalbec had a .938 OPS in AAA last year.
Dalbec has had numerous pretty fair shots to show what he can do in the majors. Grissom, meanwhile, is about halfway through the equivalent of his spring training reps, for a new team in a new city playing a sort of new position. I don't think we can judge Grissom for a little while yet.
 

Sin Duda

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Dalbec has had numerous pretty fair shots to show what he can do in the majors. Grissom, meanwhile, is about halfway through the equivalent of his spring training reps, for a new team in a new city playing a sort of new position. I don't think we can judge Grissom for a little while yet.
Similar to Story's first season but without the benefit of career maturity. Let's give him a couple months and 250 ABs at least.
 

Rovin Romine

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Stop being disingenuous. The reasons are obvious. If healthy Sale could be a 4+ WAR pitcher this year. There was a vesting option in his contract for 2025. We gave the Braves $17 million. Grissom is an unknown quantity.

Yes, I get the reasons FOR the trade, too.
The bare fact there's some uncertainty re: subsequent player performance is not a valid reason to question a trade. Because it applies to every single trade. Ever.

A valid reason to question a trade would be things like: the team creating a bigger problem by making the trade, or the team grossly under/over estimating the subsequent player performance.

You understand that Sale is potentially a very good pitcher if his health holds up. You probably got to that understanding by looking at things like Savant to measure the quality of his pitches, and looking at his actual games.

(Although I'm not sure if you realize Sale is basically a 6th starter on the Braves, with the extra days of rest he's getting. So looking at his 2024 and imagining he's on the Sox isn't quite apples-to-apples.)

You don't seem to understand the caliber of young player that Grissom represents. But you could, if you bothered to look up his MiL numbers and watched him play. Even if he crashes and burns (which I don't expect) he's exactly the type of player almost any team would want to acquire. He's just that good. And he's a particularly good fit here because he fills a position of need.


FWIW, I also liked Sale on the Sox and did a lot of eye-rolling at the "but he's made of glass" comments. But don't let that cloud your judgement.
 

Fishy1

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Similar to Story's first season but without the benefit of career maturity. Let's give him a couple months and 250 ABs at least.
Agreed. Guys with good contact skills and patience tend to struggle less with their adjustment to the big leagues. They can survive the slightly elevated K rate and the drop in BB that comes with upgrading to the majors for the first time. Grissom goes from a 14% K rate to a 18% or so, and he can still put the ball in play enough to make it work.

Worth nothing the guy consistently posted BABIPs north of .330 in the minors over the course of 1000 plate appearances, which suggests incredible control of the bat. If he can put it all together here, his bat control could earn him comparisons to hitters like Bogaerts (and gulp, Jeter), who respectively have career BABIPs of .330 and .350. Let's not forget either that Bogaerts first full-season introduction to MLB led to a 81 wrc+, a .240 batting average and .298 OBP. The season after that he was nearly a 5 fWAR player.

He's got to find his plate discipline sea legs, frankly, and it doesn't help when he gets shafted like he did here, last night. He hasn't taken a walk yet in 33 plate appearances, which suggests to me he's pressing a little. Once he calms down some, and he has a little bit more luck with balls in play, I think we'll see him flourish. The guy can just flat-out hit. Hasn't posted a batting average in the minors below .311 since 2019, and between AA and AAA he hit about .350. No, batting average is not everything or even the most important thing, but... it's eye-popping when a guy does that.

82608

Dalbec, meanwhile, went from a K rate in the minors that swung between 23% all the way up to 37% to a K rate of 36% in the majors. Unless you're homering nearly every time you make contact, you can't survive with a K rate like that.

edit: co-sign what @Rovin Romine said. He's that good of a hitting prospect! Guys don't just casually hit .300+ with .500 slugging percentages at every level. I'd much rather have the guy with the bat-to-ball excellence than the guy who has the tantalizing power but can't tell a slider from a change-up. the former guy can learn pop, but if by the time you reach the majors you still can't pick up spin, your K rate is going to be out of control very quickly.
 

grimshaw

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May 16, 2007
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Agreed. Guys with good contact skills and patience tend to struggle less with their adjustment to the big leagues. They can survive the slightly elevated K rate and the drop in BB that comes with upgrading to the majors for the first time. Grissom goes from a 14% K rate to a 18% or so, and he can still put the ball in play enough to make it work.

Worth nothing the guy consistently posted BABIPs north of .330 in the minors over the course of 1000 plate appearances, which suggests incredible control of the bat. If he can put it all together here, his bat control could earn him comparisons to hitters like Bogaerts (and gulp, Jeter), who respectively have career BABIPs of .330 and .350. Let's not forget either that Bogaerts first full-season introduction to MLB led to a 81 wrc+, a .240 batting average and .298 OBP. The season after that he was nearly a 5 fWAR player.

He's got to find his plate discipline sea legs, frankly, and it doesn't help when he gets shafted like he did here, last night. He hasn't taken a walk yet in 33 plate appearances, which suggests to me he's pressing a little. Once he calms down some, and he has a little bit more luck with balls in play, I think we'll see him flourish. The guy can just flat-out hit. Hasn't posted a batting average in the minors below .311 since 2019, and between AA and AAA he hit about .350. No, batting average is not everything or even the most important thing, but... it's eye-popping when a guy does that.
Agree with what the gist of what you're saying since putting the ball in play with the shift limitations should give a decent boost to the average, but minor league BABIPs are very high due to inferior fielding and fielding conditions in general. And by sprint speed measures this season, he's well below average though slightly below average for his short major league career.

There were over 320 minor leaguers with a BABIP over .350 last season (9 for the Sox alone) for example and those are only with qualified plate appearances. He would still be in a high-ish percentile, but even Nathan Hickey was at ,329 for example and Rafaela (who is very fast) and Dalbec (who hits the ball very hard) were at .350 and .364 respectively. I'd be thrilled with a .280 average and .320 BABIP.
 
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Fishy1

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Nov 10, 2006
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Agree with what the gist of what you're saying since putting the ball in play with the shift limitations should give a decent boost to the average, but minor league BABIPs are very high due to inferior fielding and fielding conditions in general. And by sprint speed measures this season, he's well below average though slightly below average for his short major league career.

There were over 320 minor leaguers with a BABIP over .350 last season (9 for the Sox alone) for example and those are only with qualified plate appearances. He would still be in a high-ish percentile, but even Nathan Hickey was at ,329 for example and Rafaela (who is very fast) and Dalbec (who hits the ball very hard) were at .350 and .364 respectively. I'd be thrilled with a .280 average and .320 BABIP.
I think that's all fair, but now you've got me interested. Trying to drum up where I can find data on league-wide BABIP in the minors.

EDIT: So in AAA, there were 55 guy with BABIPs over .330. That's out of 126 qualifying players, or about 43%. In the majors it was 40 qualifying out of 212, just 18%. That's an even bigger difference than I was expecting.

Grissom was 9th in BABIP, fwiw. Dalbec had the fifteen highest.
 
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nvalvo

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Jul 16, 2005
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You are making some solid points.

Part of my problem is that I really like Chris Sale, in spite of all his injuries and the wasted dough. Another part is that I really did think we were going hard for the playoffs this year. I'm biased for those reasons, I freely admit it.
I don't blame you. I like Sale, too, and I also expected him to be healthy — and if healthy, quite good.

(I don't get the people who don't like Sale. He had a 7.6 fWAR season as a starter for us in a year where we won a title. That's the eleventh best fWAR mark for a pitching season for the Red Sox after two of Pedro's, four of Clemens', and four of Cy Young's seasons, tied with another Clemens season and Smoky Joe Wood's 1912 — the only other such season in a WS-winning year. Was he hurt a lot? Sure; it happens — Wood was hurt '13–'15. Was the extension ill advised? Yeah; take that up with Dombrowski. But this franchise is old and accomplished, and he's one of the very best who has ever pitched here.)

I also liked and like the trade. Chris Sale is 35 years old, and that means he just isn't a good fit for a team whose window is opening — like ours is. That doesn't mean we're not trying to compete! We are trying to compete this season; indeed, we are competing — we're tied with Detroit and Texas with the best record of a team not presently in a wild card spot. But I think it's fair to say we should be in a position to compete with a higher probability of success in the coming seasons.

Even if he's healthy and performs, a guy like Sale imposes a tradeoff on a roster like ours: playing time we give him isn't playing time we're using to identify future rotation mainstays. This winter, people here wanted Houck (controllable through 2028) in the pen because he couldn't face a lineup three times. People here still want Whitlock (2027) in the pen. By the end of this season, both of those guys, along with Crawford (2029) and Bello (2030) will look like the anchors of our rotation.

Sale might well be very good this year, but it's pretty unlikely that he'll be good throughout what we're hoping is a five-year window of serious contention. Swapping him out for a potential infield piece in Grissom (who's period of team control does lineup with that window) and making space to sign a 29-year-old Lucas Giolito helps that — or would have helped if Giolito hadn't gotten hurt. The point is, dealing Sale gave us a rotation slot to offer to a younger FA. The projected step down from Sale to Younger FA Pitcher was less — even for 2024 — than the projected step up from last year's catastrophic 2B situation to Grissom. In hindsight, we should have beaten the Cubs' offer for Shota Imanaga instead of signing Giolito, but Giolito's youth shouldn't be understated. If Breslow and Bailey had gotten Giolito back on track — and given what they're getting out of Cooper Criswell (controllable until the heat death of the universe), that is not at all hard to believe — we'd likely be extending him for a half-decade at the All Star Break.

On the Braves' side — while Strider's injury changes things; they are relying much more on Sale than I think they would have anticipated — Sale should be a luxury for the Braves, so his age and injury risks aren't as big a deal for them; I think they can make the playoffs with or without him. They traded us Grissom for a 50% chance of having Chris Sale start an NLCS game against the Dodgers, and that was probably a smart move.
 

Hank Scorpio

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Apr 1, 2013
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I know we're dealing with an absurdly small sample size with Grissom right now; but another way to look at his season...

He's currently got a .185 BABIP (5 for 27), which is incredibly bad luck.

Steamer and Zips had him projected for a .319/.320 BABIP.

If he had that BABIP while keeping the same K rate (6 Ks in 33 AB), that comes out to 8.61~8.64 hits in 27 AB (excluding the Ks)... which would give him a .260~.262 batting average (using the precise decimals), or if you want to use strictly the whole numbers (actual possible outcomes), then he'd be around 8 for 33 (.242) or 9 for 33 (.273) with average luck.

That said - I have some doubts about BABIP. I can see how someone with a horrible BABIP might be unlucky. Their line drives constantly find gloves. A few stellar plays going against them. But also - maybe they just suck sometimes. I haven't seen enough of Grissom's at bats to make that call, and I'm not very familiar with the "contact" metrics we have these days.