The Atlanta Braves are welcoming Chris Sale with open arms after the left-handed pitcher closed the door on a six-year run with the Boston Red Sox.

Atlanta acquired Sale on Dec. 31 in exchange for infielder Vaughn Grissom, and agreed to terms on a two-year, $38 million deal upon his arrival. Yet, despite the baggage of an unfavorable recent health track record attached to Sale, a seven-time All-Star, the Braves are no-less thrilled to add an experienced World Series champ to an already elite National League squad.

“He just brings a different element for us, for sure,” Braves pitching coach Rick Kranitz told MLB Network Radio on Tuesday. “The toughness, the competitiveness, a no-nonsense guy, right? Now, I just have to learn him, he has to learn me, find out what makes him tick and I know we’re gonna get along great. … To add somebody like him is a great Christmas gift for me, I’ll tell you that.”

Kranitz added: “He’s such a fierce competitor.”

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Although the exit from Boston wasn’t favorable for either Sale or the Red Sox, the added pressure of being expected to lead a rotation is no longer in place with the Braves.

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Atlanta recorded 1,516 strikeouts, ranking third among all teams across Major League Baseball last season. With Spencer Strider and Max Fried leading the way for the rotation, Sale gets a chance to take more of a breather fresh off five consecutive injury-hampered seasons in Boston.

Turning 35 years old in March, Sale’s new situation in Atlanta could prove to be favorable for all parties involved.

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Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images