Chris Sale Makes Notable Red Sox Contract Decision Before MLB Offseason

Sale (unsurprisingly) will not opt out of his deal with Boston


Nov 1, 2022

Chris Sale will remain under contract with the Red Sox, an unsurprising yet notable development as Boston prepares for a crucial offseason.

Sale can opt out of the final two years of his current deal after the World Series, but Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier the left-handed pitcher has informed the organization he does not intend to exercise the opt-out.

Sale, who turns 34 in March, is coming off a 2022 season in which he was limited to just 5 2/3 innings over two starts, the result of a tough stretch of injuries that included a stress fracture in his right rib cage, a broken left pinkie finger and a broken right wrist. The seven-time All-Star also made just nine regular-season starts (42 2/3 innings) in 2021 and missed all of the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

All told, it would have been stunning if Sale opted out. He’s slated to make $55 million over the next two years ($27.5 million annually), and there’s simply too much uncertainty surrounding his status after three years of battling ailments to think he would’ve eclipsed that payday in free agency.

Still, there’s no denying Sale’s talent when healthy, and a return to dominance would go a long way toward changing the public perception of the five-year extension he signed in 2019. Sale, who began his Major League Baseball career with the Chicago White Sox before arriving in Boston via trade in December 2016, finished in the top six in American League Cy Young voting each season from 2012 to 2018.

The Red Sox have many questions to answer this winter after finishing in last place in the AL East with a 78-84 record. The futures of homegrown stars Xander Bogaerts (can opt out this offseason) and Rafael Devers (can become a free agent next offseason) certainly are top of mind, but Sale’s contract situation was another logistical matter facing the franchise amid its quest to improve for 2023 and beyond.

Thumbnail photo via Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports Images
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