Reaction to Chris Sale's Contract Extension

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Word coming out of Red Sox Camp in Florida today report the team has agreed to a contract extension with ace pitcher Chris Sale that will pay the lanky lefty $145 M for five years beginning next season.  The move ends speculation with Sale entering the final year of the six year deal he signed with the Chicago White Sox before his trade to Boston.

Photo courtesy of espn.com
The trend in baseball recently has been for top name players to sign extensions rather than take the risk of entering free agency.  The Rockies’ Nolan Arenado and the Angels’ Mike Trout are two of the biggest names of this group, who have decided to forego the potential insanely huge money payout of free agency in favor of the merely obscene money and guarantee in an unstable market.  The specter of a potential work stoppage after the 2021 season.

Immediate Reaction:

At first glance, this looks like a good deal for the Red Sox.  Sale, who will turn 30 on March 30th, is still in the prime of his career and should have another two to three years minimum as the dominant lefthander in the game.  That is if he can remain healthy, and this has to be a concern, but one the team obviously believes they can either manage or is worth the risk.

Sale has shown that he can still be a very effective pitcher even without his 95+ MPH fastball.  He should pitch effectively for the full length of his five year deal, which will run through 2024.

Sale’s AAV of $29 M puts him behind teammate David Price (AAV of $31 M for a 7 year, $217 M deal).  Despite being the clear ace of the staff, Sale was willing to make less money annually than Price.  This shows that Sale was sincere when he said he liked pitching in Boston and it would not come down to money for him to resign.

This also likely signals the coming end of Rick Porcello’s tenure in a Red Sox uniform.  With Sale and Price taking up $60 M per year, Nathan Eovaldi earning $17 M, and Eduardo Rodriguez projected to get a decent bump in salary as he gets into his arbitration years, it is doubtful the Red Sox will look to secure Porcello at his current salary of $22 M per year.  This would put the Red Sox rotation alone at over $100 M per year.  With Xander Bogaerts and potentially J.D. Martinez becoming free agents at the end of the season, and Mookie Betts looming after 2020, it would not be surprising if the Red Sox go with a lesser free agent or prospect such as a Darwinzon Hernandez to be the fifth starter in 2020.


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Boston Sports Syndicate: Reaction to Chris Sale's Contract Extension
Reaction to Chris Sale's Contract Extension
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