Did the Sale trade move the market beyond most teams' reach?

Once Chris Sale was swapped for multiple top prospects, the price to acquire rotation help via trades may have moved out of most teams' reach. AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

To hear some rival evaluators tell it, the Chicago White Sox kind of ruined it for any team looking to trade for a starting pitcher. When Chicago GM Rick Hahn traded Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox earlier this month, he received so much in return in prospects that he reset market expectations for what you can get back for a starting pitcher.

Never mind that Sale was the best available starting pitcher, and unlike any other because of his pure stuff and his past success. But some teams interested in acquiring a pitcher in trade -- which is the best way to land a potentially high-end starter right now, because this winter’s class of free-agent pitchers is so historically thin -- report that the trade of Sale has seemingly nudged the asking prices from other teams even higher.

“It’s crazy,” one executive said. “It’s like everyone is trying to replicate their version of the [Sale] trade.”