Update, 10:26 p.m.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, other teams are still in the mix for Sale and that no deal is expected tonight. He also reports that the Nationals are refusing to give up Trea Turner in any deal for Sale.
Original Post, 10 p.m.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds that a rival executive believes the chances are 80/20 that Sale ends up in Washington.
Rosenthal says the deal as of now would send top outfield prospect Victor Robles as well as fireball right-hander Lucas Giolito. They are the two best prospects in the Nationals’ system and Giolito is considered one of the top five prospects in all of baseball.
Sale, meanwhile, is coming off another superb season for Chicago in which he went 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA over 226.2 innings pitched. He posted stellar strikeout (9.3 K/9) and walk (1.8 BB/) rates as well. He has been in the top six in the AL Cy Young Award results each of the past five seasons. Over that span, he’s fourth in Fangraphs pitcher WAR behind only Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and David Price.
Needless to say, the Nationals would be adding a stud to an already-loaded pitching staff. Washington posted a 3.52 ERA last season, which was second in baseball only to the Cubs. As a staff, they struck out 9.1 batters per nine innings, second only to the Dodgers. Their 2.89 BB/9 rate was ninth in baseball.
Their starting staff was as good as the Mets in just about every metric. Nationals starters owned a combined 3.601 ERA compared to the Mets’ 3.61. They posted a higher strikeout rate (9.25 K/9 vs 8.07) but posted a worse walk rate (2.85 BB/9 vs 8.07). With Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, and Tanner Roark, this deal could give the Nationals’ staff the edge going into 2017 — at least on paper.