The Red Sox announced Tuesday — one day before their World Series parade through the streets of Boston — that they exercised Chris Sale’s contract option for 2019.
But what does the future hold for the left-hander beyond next season?
Sale, who was acquired from the White Sox before the 2017 season, is entering the final year of a contract he signed with Chicago in 2013. He’s slated to earn $15 million in 2018 — $16 million if he’s named the American League Cy Young Award winner this offseason — and the Red Sox will need to decide at some point whether the seven-time All-Star is part of their long-term plans.
So far, Boston hasn’t discussed a contract extension with Sale. Red Sox principal owner John Henry revealed such during Wednesday’s World Series celebration.
Now, this obviously isn’t huge news. The Red Sox just wrapped up an amazing World Series run and knew they held a club option on Sale for 2019. They don’t need to decide on the pitcher’s long-term future right now, and Boston might prefer to see how Sale looks next season after dealing with a shoulder issue this season before giving him a lucrative contract extension.
The lack of talks still is notable, though, if only because it shines light on the elephant in the room. Sale has fit like a glove with the Red Sox, putting together two excellent seasons in Boston’s pressure-packed environment, but he’ll turn 30 years old in March and has a track record of wearing down late in seasons. Do the Red Sox want to roll the dice by signing him to a huge deal, especially with David Price planning to stick around for four more years at $127 million and Mookie Betts, among others, also nearing free agency?