The Red Sox’s decision to trade Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday might hurt, but it was necessary in Boston’s pursuit of rebuilding itself into a contender.

That’s the cost of doing business.

If you’ve followed along at any point this offseason, you’d know Boston’s biggest need came in the starting pitching department. It might be confusing, then, to hear us label its decision to trade the Opening Day starter as “necessary.”

Let us explain.

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If the Red Sox’s biggest need was starting pitching, their second biggest need was a second baseman. That’s exactly what they got in Vaughn Grissom, who the Braves gave up to get the trade done. If things fall into place the way they’re lined up to, Grissom could solidify the middle of Boston’s infield with shortstop Trevor Story. Rafael Devers and Triston Casas are locked into the corners, and though defense is still a question, there’s no doubt that group works better than the rotating cast the Red Sox dealt with in 2023.

Grissom’s still got questions to answer, as he was essentially blocked from making an impact at the big-league level in Atlanta. He’s kept pace with what’s expected of a high-level prospect at each stop, and finished last season slashing .330/.419/.501 over 102 games in Triple-A. Those were some of the best numbers in Minor League Baseball.

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There’s also the fact that Sale wasn’t exactly penciled in to make 30 starts, having taken the mound a total of 31 times over the last three seasons. He’s still got the ability to be dominant, but he couldn’t be counted on to take the ball every fifth day anymore.

The Red Sox signed Lucas Giolito on Friday, according to multiple reports, which essentially fills the hole left by Sale. Boston has no shortage of option to continue adding, either, as Shota Imanaga, Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell are still on the open market.

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Boston has a few moves left to make, but the trade of Sale was a necessary start toward returning to contention.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images