Say what you will about this move, but it was the right one.
The #RedSox today signed LHP Chris Sale to a five-year contract extension that spans the 2020-2024 seasons.— Red Sox (@RedSox) March 23, 2019
The deal is officially done, so I know have time to sit back and write my thoughts on this move.
Let me start by saying this – I didn’t see the Red Sox reaching an extension with Chris Sale before the season started. I knew that Chris Sale was interested in signing an extension, and that Red Sox ownership and the front office wanted to keep Sale around. John Henry said in February that the team “blew it” in their extension talks with Jon Lester. They obviously didn’t want to make the same mistake twice.
The details of Sale’s contract are a bit difficult to grasp, but from what I understand, Sale will be making an AAV of $30 million over the first three years of his deal. Then, if he decides to stay in Boston the last two years of his contract, he will be making an AAV of $27.5 million. The deal keeps Sale around until 2024, at least. It’s the fourth-largest deal in Red Sox history.
The deal also includes a no-trade clause and a club vesting option.
Per sources, Chris Sale will receive a full no-trade clause during 2020 season once he reaches 10 years of Major League service time. Sale's extension also includes an opt-out after 2022 and contains a vesting option for 2025 worth at least $20M based on starts.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) March 23, 2019
Going back to my thoughts on the move – I like this deal a lot. Sale is one of the best pitchers in the game and if we can lock him up for quite a bit of time, that’s ideal. Sale also took a slight discount to stay with the Sox. If we are being honest, he could have tested out the free agent market and made a little more money. Like Eagle Tribune’s Chris Mason points out in his latest column, this deal also shows that Sale just wants to win. The left-handed ace could have been upset that his deal still wouldn’t be as much as what David Price is getting paid and demanded more money, but no, he just wanted to stay in Boston and win and took the deal the Red Sox offered.
Now that we have locked Sale up for the foreseeable future, I feel great about the pitching staff for the next few years. Nathan Eovaldi, David Price, and now Sale are all under contract for a good while. That eliminates the “window to win” opportunity for the Red Sox. Dombrowski also mentioned today in Sale’s press conference that the team “very much” wants to keep Rick Porcello on the team.
The team has many more moves they need to make to keep this team together, but reaching an extension with Chris Sale was a great first step.
Photo Credit: Photo of Chris Sale, Sporting News