Chris Sale's 2018 season was everything the Red Sox hoped for, and more.
He posted a 12-4 record with a 2.11 ERA, and topped off the season with the championship-clinching strikeout in the World Series.
The Red Sox ace is also an unrestricted free agent following the 2019 season.
Sale has expressed the desire to stay in Boston, and said that the only thing that really matters to him is winning, even with his contract expiring this year.
An extension may be in the works sooner than initially expected to keep Sale in Boston.
Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner said on WEEI's "Mut and Callahan" radio show that the team has discussed an extension with their star pitcher.
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"Well, we have had private conversations [with Sale]. The best thing for us is to keep these conversations private... in a perfect world, we'd love to have him back. He's one of the great pitchers in the American League," said Werner.
John Henry echoed Werner's sentiment when asked about Sale in Fort Myers. "We would love to be able to sign him. I think he would like to as well," said Henry. "But there are the realities of the marketplace in budgets and this is his opportunity to be a free agent, so, potentially. Which we’d like to avoid but — I think he would as well, so something could happen.”
Sale comes with his share of concerns, the most prominent of which is his durability; he's struggled with injuries at points over a long season, and may have to "dial it back" during the regular season to keep himself healthy for the playoffs in the future.
But Sale is still a true No. 1 pitcher for Boston whose slider, according to the players, is the nastiest pitch in baseball. The Sox may have some trouble over the next few seasons keeping together the core that won them their fourth World Series title this century, but if they can come to a deal with Sale, there shouldn't be any hesitation.
Whether or not a deal gets done before Opening Day in late March, it seems like Sale and the Sox front office are on good terms-- a great sign for the team's chances of keeping him in Boston past this year's title defense.
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