White Sox ace Chris Sale has been cleared to come off the disabled list after missing the past month with a sore left flexor muscle. Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that Sale will start tomorrow night against the Yankees.
Sale struck out 11 batters in a minor-league rehab start Friday at Triple-A, although he threw only 68 pitches. There had been some talk of Sale making a second rehab start, in part to build up more arm strength, but he felt good enough to skip it.
Sale was 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in four starts before being shut down and the 25-year-old left-hander has been one of the best starters in baseball since joining the rotation in 2012, starting 63 games with a 3.02 ERA and 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.