Perhaps now is the best time for Chris Sale to be on the shelf.
Former Major League Baseball manager Steve Phillips argued Friday morning on Sirius XM MLB Network Radio why he believes the Boston Red Sox ace will undergo Tommy John surgery at an opportune time for the team. Phillips insists the the Red Sox probably wouldn’t have contended for spots in the MLB playoffs, let alone a berth in the World Series, so Sale can go under the knife, recover and return to a Boston team better prepared to compete for glory.
“The other part of it is, the timing of where they are as a franchise, I look at the Red Sox right now. I don’t look at them as a real playoff contender,” Phillips said. “They traded away Mookie Betts, they traded away David Price.
“So I looked at it and thought if they were going to win this year, they were going to need 32-33 starts out of Sale, and he was going to have to be an ace. David Price was going to have to give them 30 starts and be very good. Eduardo Rodriguez was going to have to duplicate what he did last year. Nate Eovaldi was going to have to make at least 28 starts and be good enough. That was a lot of ifs.
“And so even if Sale was great this year, I still don’t think they were a playoff contender. Not after the Betts and Price trade. So with that, why not get it (the surgery) done now. If you’re not going to win anyways, then let it rehab and get back, so when they’re primed to win, they’ve got an ace back at the front of the rotation.”
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) March 20, 2020
But if Boston improves its roster gradually over the next 12 months or so, or the team simply is better than Phillips currently believes it is, his assessment about the timing of Sale’s comeback ultimately might prove prophetic.