Red Sox

Red Sox ace Chris Sale "would love" to stay in Boston with new contract

Red Sox ace Chris Sale "would love" to stay in Boston with new contract

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.

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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Forget David Price, Red Sox fans should focus on Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

Forget David Price, Red Sox fans should focus on Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts

BOSTON -- They are the twin pillars of hope in an otherwise upside-down Red Sox season, and on the day that David Price reminded us how his definition of "good teammate" might not jibe with yours or mine, let us salute Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers.

The homegrown stars bring a missing vibe to the lineup on a nightly basis. When either steps into the box, you can feel the confidence pouring off them like steam. Bogaerts has never looked more comfortable, especially with runners on base, his at-bats a study in composure and patience. When he gets his pitch, he's no longer looking to dunk it to right field. He's trying to shatter a windshield, as his 21 homers and 74 RBIs attest.

Devers, meanwhile, doesn't even know how good he is, because he raises that ceiling with virtually every swing. Overnight he has become one of the toughest outs in baseball, a line drive machine who covers every inch of the plate — and a few beyond it — while barreling rockets to all corners of the park.

On Wednesday night, both played key roles in a bounce-back victory over the Blue Jays. Bogaerts set the tone by doubling on a grounder through the shortstop hole, his breathtaking acceleration around first shocking Blue Jays center fielder Teoscar Hernandez, along with everyone else in the park.

Devers, meanwhile, maintained his relentless assault on the American League leaderboards with an opposite-field homer that saw him blazing around first before it found the seats as part of a 3-for-5, four-RBI night. After not driving in a run for the first 12 games of the season or hitting a homer for the first 32, Devers suddenly finds himself hitting .326 with 18 homers and 70 RBIs.

In a season where nothing has come easily — including Wednesday's 5-4 victory — Devers and Bogaerts represent an oasis. If we could watch them alternate at-bats all season, baseball might not have to worry about losing the next generation of fans.

It was hard to miss the juxtaposition of their joyful play vs. the pregame scene of Price once again blasting broadcaster Dennis Eckersley over the latter's relatively benign quotes in a Boston Globe profile.

Price wondered why we were still talking about their 2017 confrontation on a team charter, and why Eckersley couldn't let it go. He also egregiously suggested that the Hall of Famer had no friends during his playing days, based on what sounded like the partial viewing of an MLB Network documentary. Price said the doc quoted no players except Eckersley; that was factually inaccurate. Former teammates from Bruce Hurst to Mark McGwire to Fred Lynn, among others, were featured.

Watching Price demand a chance to apologize, as if he had somehow become the victim — instead of the man he ambushed — was flat-out distasteful. It also made you wonder what he enjoys about playing in Boston to be carrying around that kind of seething resentment.

But we're not here to dwell on Price. This is about the opposite end of that spectrum inhabited by Bogaerts and Devers, two young players with bright futures who approach each game with an infectious delight. It's almost like they're the only two players who haven't received the memo that repeating as champions is a hopeless, joyless slog towards doom.

With the toughest portion of the schedule looming — 14 straight games against the Yankees and Rays — the Red Sox will need Bogaerts and Devers to be better than ever.

Something tells me they'll deliver. But will there be anyone with them?

Why Bogaerts is a legit MVP candidate>>>>>

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Red Sox' Rafael Devers sets new single-season record for most RBI vs. Blue Jays

Red Sox' Rafael Devers sets new single-season record for most RBI vs. Blue Jays

Rafael Devers is a certified Blue Jays killer.

The Red Sox third baseman has punished the AL East foe all season long, and he continued that trend in Wednesday night's matchup going 3-for-4 with four RBI.

That gives Devers 25 total RBI vs. the Blue Jays this year, passing David Ortiz (2005) for most by a player against Toronto in a single season. Wildly enough, Devers' mark is likely to increase as he'll get to face the Blue Jays four more times in 2019.

That isn't Devers' only impressive stat vs. Toronto. The 22-year-old's seven home runs against the Blue Jays are the third-most in a season by a Red Sox player, trailing only Manny Ramirez (9 in 2001) and J.D. Martinez (8 in 2018).

The Blue Jays will be happy to have a break from Devers after the two teams wrap up their series on Thursday night. After that, they'll next see him again in Toronto on September 10.

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