White Sox buying into success of Angels' Trout

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White Sox buying into success of Angels' Trout

As things currently stand, Mike Trout is the odds-on favorite to win an avalanche of awards, from AL MVP to rookie of the year to even gold glove and silver slugger honors. One White Sox player even joked after Saturday's game that Trout might as well win the Cy Young, too.

"Hes a great player," manager Robin Ventura said. "Again, I think talent-wise he does everything. Hes got power, speed. Defensively, the catch he made the other night you wont see too many of these guys in a while."

Ventura was alluding to Trout's home run-robbing grab of a Gordon Beckham fly ball in Saturday's game. And that wasn't even Trout's best robbery of a homer this season, as the rookie's leaping catch to take away a home run from Baltimore's J.J. Hardy in late June may stand as the defensive play of the year in baseball this season.

"You might want to put it about 10 rows back for him to not get it because it seems like he's able to catch a lot of them," Ventura said Saturday. "I almost thought he got Rios' walk-off homer Friday. Make sure you hit it a little further."

But defense isn't Trout's only strong suit. Going into Sunday, Trout is leading the American League in runs scored, stolen bases, batting average and OPS. Since being called up in late April, he's hit 19 home runs and has only been thrown out trying to steal a base three times in 36 attempts.

Trout's 6.8 WAR easily is the best in baseball, a full win above leading NL MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen. And he can't even legally buy a beer in this country yet -- he turns 21 on Tuesday.

"I told him in the one at-bat, Im like 'Youre really good, man, because he does it all," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "He makes those catches in the outfield look so good. He hits for power, he can run as fast as anyone Ive seen in a long time. He plays the game right, plays the game hard, has a smile on his face. The Angels are lucky to have him and hes one of the best Ive seen in a long time."

Chris Sale: Trade from White Sox 'bittersweet,' ready to move on with Red Sox

Chris Sale: Trade from White Sox 'bittersweet,' ready to move on with Red Sox

There’s no question he’s excited about the chance to pitch for a perennial playoff team in front of Fenway Park crowds deep into October.

But Chris Sale described the trade that sent him from the White Sox to the Boston Red Sox as bittersweet on Wednesday morning. On his way out of town, Sale, who was traded Tuesday for four minor leaguers, including two elite prospects, credited the White Sox for their support and belief in him from the outset of his career. But while he wishes he could have won a title on the South Side, Sale also said he’s ready to move on.

“It’s exciting for all the reasons I already said,” Sale said. “It’s tough. You build a relationship with these guys and they are like family. Everybody over there is being in your family. You are around these guys probably even more during the year than you are around your family. It’s tough. But knowing what lies ahead makes it a little bit easier for that transition.

“It didn’t work out. I really wish it did. I have nothing but really good things to take from that and I appreciate my time with the White Sox. But I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”

After several years of hearing trade speculation, the five-time All-Star said he started to sense the possibility was real a few weeks ago after a conversation with his agent. The chatter began to increase with the start of the Winter Meetings this week and Sale said he was inundated with texts from friends and family in anticipation of where he could be headed. When he learned it was the Red Sox, Sale said was ecstatic to learn he’d be playing for one of the “greatest baseball franchises ever.”

“It’s kind of like being monkey in the middle, you’re just glad when you finally get the ball,” Sale said. “It’s hectic. There’s a lot of speculation. There’s story after story and obviously getting flood with text messages from family and friends. Just to have the whole process out the way and to get back to normalcy will be nice.”

[Complete coverage of the White Sox-Red Sox Chris Sale blockbuster trade]

Many of those messages came from former White Sox teammates. Sale said he and his wife, who is soon due with their second child, spent much of Tuesday looking at old pictures and nostalgia from his White Sox tenure. Though he’s disappointed by the lack of team success with the White Sox, Sale said the team’s support was a critical element to his success.

The White Sox drafted Sale with the 13th overall pick in 2010 and he reached the majors later that season. Though he spent the first two seasons in the bullpen, the team’s plan all along was to make Sale a starting pitcher, something others weren’t certain he could handle. Sale has been an All-Star and also finished in the top six in the Cy Young Award vote in each of the five seasons since he became a starter.

“It didn’t work out the way we wanted it to in Chicago, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of great moments,” Sale said. “I had a very good conversation with Rick (Hahn) yesterday.

“I was in a situation in 2010, how many teams would have done what they did? It’s hard to say now, but probably not very many. They drafted me in the first round when people had questions. They brought me up to the big leagues really fast and people probably had questions. They threw in the rotation and people clearly had questions.

“They were really, they had my back a lot and they gave me opportunities that not a lot of other people would have given me. I’m very thankful for that.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Breaking down the Chris Sale trade

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Breaking down the Chris Sale trade

On the latest episode of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien and Dan Hayes break down the White Sox trade of Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox.

Plus, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe provides some insight on what exactly the White Sox got in return for their former ace.

And Rick Hahn talks about just how difficult it was to pull the trigger and trade elite, homegrown talent.

Listen to the latest episode below: