Red Sox

Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox have one fewer pending free agent to worry about.

Chris Sale has agreed to terms with the Red Sox on a five-year contract. According to Ken Rosenthal, it's a five-year, $145 million deal that includes an opt-out after three seasons. The deal reportedly became official late Friday night when Sale passed his physical.

Sale was scheduled to make his final spring training start of the season Friday night, but he was a healthy scratch — not surprising, considering the long-term investment at stake for a player who turns 30 in just eight days.

With the extra years added onto the final year of his current contract, Sale will be locked up through the 2024 season.

Sale said earlier this spring he was open to signing an extension with Boston. He's coming off a strong season in which he posted a 2.11 ERA and 12-4 record in 27 starts, though he also dealt with shoulder inflammation late in the season that led to two trips to the disabled list and limited him to just 17.0 innings over the final two months of the regular season.

 

By coming to terms on a new deal, the Sox avoid repeating their mistakes when they botched the Jon Lester extension talks five years ago. Earlier this spring, team owner John Henry admitted the team blew it by only offering Lester a $70 million contract, which ended up being less than half of what he eventually got from the Cubs as a free agent.

“I think Chris [Sale] falls out of the norm because he’s just such a great — not just a great pitcher but a great part of the team as we saw in the World Series he had quite an impact just being on the bench during the World Series,” Henry said. “So he’s a special player. We would love to be able to sign him."

Pitcher Rick Porcello, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and designated hitter J.D. Martinez all can hit free agency next offseason, but locking up Sale gives the Red Sox much-needed peace of mind knowing their best pitcher is sticking around.

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