Red Sox GM Defends Chris Sale’s Early Contract Extension In Light Of Elbow Injury


Dec 11, 2019

Brian O’Halloran would tie down Chris Sale if he had to do it all over again.

The Boston Red Sox general manager has defended the team’s decision to sign the ace to an early contract extension. Many applauded the Red Sox last March for signing Sale to a five-year, $145 million extension. which will begin in the 2020 Major League Baseball season. However, his disappointing 2019 campaign ultimately ended prematurely due to an elbow injury, causing some to question the wisdom of committing to a deal so early.

O’Halloran explained Tuesday during his appearance on Sirius XM MLB Radio why Sale’s contract extension still makes sense eight-plus months later.

“Chris Sale is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and we had an opportunity to lock him up on a long term deal that we felt were he to hit the market, he would get much more than that were he to have a healthy, typical Chris Sale campaign,” O’Halloran said at the MLB winter meetings. “We were comfortable with his health. Everyone at this table knows things happen with players and their medical situations. There’s risk in any deal that you sign. … Also, we’re happy that we have Chris Sale on our roster right now and on this contract.

“Chris has already started his throwing program, and we think he’s going to be healthy in 2020. He feels great. … Our trainer was talking to him and touching base on his program, and everything is going well.

“So to have Chris Sale atop our rotation is a good thing for us. Recognizing that last season didn’t go from an injury standpoint as well as it could have, but we’re happy to have him going forward.”

Sale, 30, went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA and 218 strikeouts in 147.1 innings in 2019. He missed the final two months of last season due to inflammation in his left elbow.

Dr. James Andrews cleared Sale to begin throwing earlier this month, and Sale assured the Naples Daily News on Friday he’ll be ready to participate in Red Sox spring training.

Sale will justify the Red Sox’s contract decision if he stays healthy and reclaims his pre-2019 form next season and beyond. In fact, in light of the record-setting contract Gerrit Cole agreed to sign with the New York Yankees on Wednesday, Sale might even prove to be a bargain for Boston.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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