By Jonathan Usher – @madduxman
Throughout the winter, and in the spirit of Christmas, I will be sharing a weekly Red Sox Player Profile to help pass this long and cold – yet festive time, from Maine.
Past, Present & Future.
Ghosts of the Past:
In his 7 seasons before coming to the Red Sox, his teams were (to put it nicely) below average. They won just 80 games twice in those 7 years, and Sale never appeared in the post-season. His career 2nd half numbers are 32-36 3.28 – not very Ace-like. He has always been a bean pole, at 6’6” and 180 lbs, his frame has scared scouts and GM’s for a decade. But his 8 year dominance (at least pre all-star break) has been legendary, and he has set several records. Most notably, he became the fastest pitcher EVER to record 1,500 strikeouts. I don’t care who you are, that is impressive. Faster than Ryan, Pedro, Lefty and even Kerry Wood – who was the previous record holder.
One of his best attributes is that he simply doesn’t put up with any crap. He will get in anyone’s face, or head. He has that endearing quality (especially to us Sox fans) like Pedro, where he simply refuses to be intimidated. The infamous shredding of the throwback uniforms that he despised – back in 2016, earned him a well-deserved suspension and subsequent blockbuster trade.
Sale lived up to the hype and the pressures of Boston for the bulk of the season, going 17-8, 2.90 and posting a whopping 308 K’s. But as always, he became mediocre in the second half, going just 4-4 with a 4.09 ERA in the final 2 months. Those numbers are actually on par for his career. That being said, he probably should have come closer to 20 wins since in his 7 no-decisions, he had an ERA of 2.66. Early in the season, he ineffectively tried to defuse the Manny Machado situation by unsuccessfully drilling him in the “Machado” (ass).
Fresh off of his 29th birthday upcoming on March 30th, the Red Sox will very happily pay him 12.5M next season, and they hold a team option at 13.5M (ridiculously short money) for 2019. After that, if he continues to put up Chris Sale numbers, he will be a $30M+/yr pitcher.
My prediction is that the Sox sign him to a long-term extension in the 6yr/150M range well before he has the opportunity to test the free agent waters. However, if the Sox completely implode this coming season or next, he (and Kimbrel) could be the centerpieces towards trades to restock the farm systems for the future, as Sale or Kimbrel could demand top prospects given the value of their current options.
AVIDBOSTON PODCAST EPISODE 27! WHAT IS RED SOX PRESIDENT DAVE DOMBROWSKI WAITING FOR, AND WILL ANY INACTIONS CPST HIM HIS JOB? SIGN MARTINEZ ALREADY!!!
Also available on iTunes!