LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — To be deemed untouchable, Jerry Reinsdorf said Chris Sale would have to reach some rarefied air.
The White Sox and Chicago Bulls owner addressed a question about trade rumors on Monday morning and said only one player — “His Airness” Michael Jordan — has been deemed untouchable in his tenure. Reports surfaced late Sunday that the White Sox have let it be known they would listen to offers for Sale, their two-time All-Star pitcher who signed a contract extension last March.
“I just heard that rumor,” Reinsdorf said about Sale. “I only had one player in my 33 years of sports that couldn’t be traded. He wore No. 23 and 45 when he played baseball. Never had another player that couldn’t be traded so I can’t tell you when I see Rick (Hahn) and Kenny (Williams) today they don’t tell me they want to trade (Sale), but I’d be very surprised.”
The White Sox signed Sale to a deal before the 2013 season that could pay him up to $60 million through 2019. Sale went 11-14 with a 3.07 ERA in 30 games last season. He struck out 226 batters in 214 1/3 innings and finished fifth in the American League Cy Young vote last month.
At the general managers’ meetings in November, White Sox GM Rick Hahn said he believes his club can rebound in the window in which Sale is signed. Though he wasn’t inclined to trade Sale, Hahn has also said he would never tell another club he wouldn’t listen to a trade proposal because otherwise he wouldn’t be doing his job.
“There’s a group of guys that we feel are part of our long-term success and having Chris at the front of our rotation we think is a big part of that potential for success,” Hahn said. “Obviously he’s signed for the next six years if we exercise both his options and we fully intend to win within that window. So while we have to not close off any avenues and have to hear other clubs when there is certain valuable commodities, moving him is not something we’re looking to do.”