For starters, Sale would have remained ace

CHICAGO -- The New York Yankees just spent $175 million on a player the Chicago White Sox would have viewed as only their No. 2 starter.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn suggested as much Wednesday when talking about the end of the Masahiro Tanaka bidding that saw the big-spending Yankees get their man by offering a seven-year, $155 million deal. The Yankees also have to pay a $20 million posting fee to Tanaka’s former team in Japan.

“As a potential long-term fit into the rotation, we saw [Tanaka] as someone who would fit in nicely behind Chris Sale, give us a nice one-two punch for the foreseeable future,” Hahn said.

Obviously, Hahn would have rather brought Tanaka into the fold, but the point was made loud and clear that Sale, who will turn 25 on the day before the season starts, would have remained at the head of the rotation.

And as far as salary goes, the White Sox are more than happy to be spending $3.5 million on Sale for the upcoming season instead of the average $22.1 million yearly salary Tanaka will be earning in New York. In fact, the most the White Sox will pay Sale in a single season on his current contract, even if two team options are picked up, is $13.5 million in 2019.

Manager Robin Ventura was asked Wednesday if he appreciated Sale even more knowing what Tanaka will be paid by the Yankees.

“I [appreciated Sale] regardless,” Ventura said. “It didn’t have to take Tanaka to do that. You are very pleased with having Chris, and I think the contract is fair for everybody. That’s what you would really like -- to have a fair deal for both sides.”