LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Chris Sale is no Michael Jordan, says Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. But don't put too much into a rumor that Sale might be traded by the White Sox here at baseball's winter meetings or later in the offseason.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports said other teams are "pushing" the White Sox to discuss Sale, an All-Star the past two seasons who finished fifth in Cy Young voting after posting a 3.07 ERA and 226 strikeouts in 214 innings in 2013.
A few minutes after the announcement Monday morning that Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox had been elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, Reinsdorf — who gave La Russa his start in the major leagues in 1979 — was cornered about the Sale talk.
"I just heard that rumor. 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," Reinsdorf said, referring to Jordan, who famously played for Reinsdorf's Chicago Bulls in the NBA and Chicago White Sox in the minor leagues.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and president Kenny Williams have given no indication that Sale is for Sale. The price would have to be very high.
"Never had another player that couldn't be traded. Now, I can't tell you that, when I see Rick and Kenny today, that they won't tell me they want to trade him. But I would be very surprised," Reinsdorf said.
And he summed up the Sale rumors with this:
"I know you guys. If we don't give you news, you've got to make it up. I just kind of laugh about it."
As to the White Sox never having another "untradable" player — what about Frank Thomas? Reinsdorf also pitched Thomas for the Hall of Fame in his first year being on the writers' ballot.
"I'm really hopeful; I think it would be a terrible miscarriage of justice is not in that class," Reinsdorf said. "But I might be concerned about some writers saying, 'Well, I don't want a DH to go in the first time.' But Frank was a position player for a lot of his career and DH is a position. Frank probably was the best hitter of his era. We went from Frank to Albert [Belle] to [Miguel] Cabrera."
Thomas would seem an obvious Hall of Famer, but he's in a thick class of players with a growing backlog of deserving candidates.
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