Chris Sale played a critical role in the Boston Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series, but it's unknown if he'll factor into the team's postseason success for the long-term.
Sale is entering the final year of his contract in 2019 and can become an unrestricted free agent when the upcoming season is over. He's slated to earn $15 million in salary this season -- a very team-friendly number.
The 29-year-old ace was asked Wednesday at spring training about his future in Boston, and he made his feelings toward the team and the city quite clear.
“I would love to (stay in Boston),” Sale told reporters. “I’ve said that since after my first year (in Boston). This is a special place. This is a special group of people, a very special city and an unbelievable fan base. Not to mention the fact that we’ve got a hell of a team and we’re going to have that team for a few years to come. It’s a good place for me, it’s a good spot. I love playing here. I’d love to keep playing here.
“We’ll see how it works out. That’s what all this stuff is for -- you have agents, contracts, all this stuff. I’m going to let them play that out. If it works, it works. If not, it’s been a blast. I have no hard feelings, no ill will and I'll keep doing what I do.”
Sale's on-field performances have been among the best in baseball for several years. He went 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP in 158 innings last season. There are few, if any, pitchers in baseball who teams would rather have in an important game.
Chris Sale owns the highest K/9.0 IP rate (10.86) and K/BB ratio (5.31) in the Live Ball Era (min. 1,000 IP). He has finished in the top 6 in Cy Young Award voting in each of the last 7 years, tied for the longest such streak in the award’s history (also Maddux & Kershaw).— Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes) February 13, 2019
Re-signing Sale should be a no-brainer decision for the Sox front office. The only pause would be Sale's injury history. He's missed several games over the last two seasons due to injury, so that will be something for all parties to monitor in 2019.
The Red Sox have a lot of important players due for contract extensions and pay raises in the near future, but very few of them play a larger role in the team's performance than Sale. If he's healthy, the Red Sox would be wise to lock him up to an extension before rival teams can enter the bidding in November.
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