Sale, lefty-heavy Sox formidable foe for O's

Sale, lefty-heavy Sox formidable foe for O's

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The American League East got even tougher on Tuesday, as the Red Sox acquired ace starter Chris Sale in a four-prospect package trade with the White Sox.

The Orioles, who posted a .234 batting average against left-handed pitching last season -- which ranked 29th in the Majors -- will now face a southpaw-heavy Red Sox rotation that also includes David Price.

Sale, who has been coveted by the Orioles in offseasons past, is 14-8 with a 2.53 ERA in 25 starts against AL East teams other than the Red Sox.

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"I did see that the Orioles have a pretty good record against him which is helpful," O's executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Sale, who is 2-2 with a 3.41 ERA in 11 games (five starts) against Baltimore.

"The Red Sox went out and gave [infielder Yoan Moncada] a lot of money. They paid a premium for him on the [international] market and tax, to Major League Baseball. When you make those kinds of investments in the international market, you have the chips to play in that arena."

The Red Sox signed Moncada to a record-setting deal ($31.5 million signing bonus) for an amateur player in March 2015. In total, Boston invested $63 million for the switch-hitter from Cuba due to a penalty for going over the international bonus limit.

"This American League East is a tough division," Duquette said. "Look at the resources the Yankees, the Red Sox, Toronto has."

Still, the splashy Sale move won't affect anything the Orioles do at the Winter Meetings. Duquette said the O's did not match up with the White Sox, and the two have yet to even get together at the Meetings. Additionally, any ripple effect from the Sale deal would likely impact starting pitching, which is a market the Orioles have been clear they aren't delving into as they try to add outfielders and a catcher.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.