How Chris Sale Almost Became an Arizona Diamondback

By Thomas Lynch
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Jun 8, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) delivers in the first inning against the Houston Astros at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

I apologize if you have heard about this story already. It was news to me as I was reading Bob Nigthengale’s column this morning. Nightengale, in his latest column in USA Today wrote a nice story about Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale.  It revolved around the dominance of Sale and how he idolized Randy Johnson. That’s not the part that caught my eye. It was a little tidbit thrown in when discussing how it was that Sale ended up in Chicago.

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It was the fact that the Arizona Diamondbacks almost took him with the 6th pick of the 2010 Draft.

At the time, Jerry Dipoto was the acting general manager.  The D’backs actually had a press release ready to go to announce they were going to be selecting Sale, who was just wrapping up his Junior year at Florida Gulf Coast University. However, Arizona, like many other teams was concerned with his smaller frame and violent delivery. The Snakes passed on Sale at the last minute and instead took right-handed pitcher Barret Loux from Texas A&M. Loux never signed with the organization and is now with the Chicago Cubs’ Triple A affiliate in Iowa. Dipoto reflected on that fateful decision from five years ago:

"We loved the ability but there were concerns as to whether he would hold up as a starter or end up at the back end of the bullpen. I’d like to try that one again."

Incidentally, the D’backs were not the first National League West team who thought about drafting Sale. The Colorado Rockies took him in the 21st round of the 2007 Draft but he opted to go to college. Imagine how much different the D’back rotation would be today if Sale was fronting it and had the same statistics as he does with the White Sox. There is no doubt Arizona would at least closer to .500 than the five games under they are today. Then again, would Kevin Towers have traded him away before he threw a pitch at the Major League level?

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