It’s About Time: Chris Sale Is A Member of the Red Sox


(Jim Davis/Globe Staff)


Finally, finnallyyyy, Chris Sale is a member of the Red Sox. I’ve wanted this since last July and the wait is actually over. Sure, it hurts parting with the #1 prospect in baseball and other pieces, but come on, it was for Chris *bleeping* Sale!

As of right now, and I assume it’s complete, the Red Sox rotation will resemble some combination of Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, and David Price at the top. With a once again healthy Eduardo Rodriguez, slotting into the fourth spot, that has the making of one dominant rotation. Then there’s Clay Buchholz, but we don’t talk about him. Today is a good day, a happy day. Stay away Clay Buchholz.

Now, Sale will be 28 years old come Opening Day and I presume he’ll be getting the ball. His performance since he officially took over a spot in the starting rotation for the White Sox has been nothing shy of stellar. Over his 7 year career, Sale has posted a 3.00 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP, and held hitters to just a .224 AVG against him. As a starter, he strikes out an average of 226.6 batters per season. It’s hard to deny that Sale is a top 5 pitcher in the Major Leagues. His numbers speak for themselves. He’s proven to be durable, but that is where my main, and really only, concern lies. If you’ve ever watched Chris Sale pitch, you probably know what I’m talking about. Just watch this short clip if you don’t:

That elbow scares me . . . a lot. Every single pitch looks like an explosion is pending. If that elbow somehow still works by the time this man is 40, I’ll be utterly and completely stunned. Somehow, no issues have arisen yet, but my fears will always linger there.

With that being said, the awkward delivery helps Sale in many cases. Have you seen this dude’s slider?

Here’s Carlos Gomez before:


And here’s Carlos Gomez after:


This poor guy struck out despite the pitch hitting him:


It is a tad more comforting with Sale taking the approach of efficiency more so than trying to blow people away. Actually, he drastically altered the way in which he goes about pitching in this past season with the only obvious difference being his number of strikeouts. Despite intentionally dropping the speed of his fastball, he’s gone to his #1 pitch more often than ever before to try and pitch-to-contact. With the Red Sox defense behind him, which ranked 5th in the MLB compared to the White Sox ranked 15th, this should only improve his numbers and bode well for his career longevity. When comparing 2016 to 2015, Sale increased his innings pitched, lowered opponents batting average against him, lowered his WHIP, lowered his ERA, led the league with 6 complete games, and tied a career high 17 wins. Playing in Boston with one of the best run producing lineups in baseball, the win total should increase, and whether you agree or not, that should help boost Sale’s case for his first career Cy Young.

Now for the hard part, what did the Red Sox give up?

Well, for starters, there’s Yoan Moncada. You know, that guy who’s the #1 prospect in baseball. The Sox forked over 30 million dollars to sign this guy and even were willing to double the sum due to international spending pool tax. He’s supposed to be pretty good at baseball, someday. And that is why this deal is great in my eyes.

Red Sox fans always love to look towards the future. For what feels like a full decade now, there’s always talk of the next wave of prospects and how our future is too valuable to mortgage for the present. Well let me tell you something, the future we’ve long been waiting for is here right now. Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, and Jackie Bradley Jr. are all ready to lead the next generation of Red Sox baseball. The present is always more valuable than the future, at least in my opinion. I mean, the Red Sox wasted the best offense in the game last year with the pitching imploding in the Postseason and now the catalyst of that lineup is gone. The time is now to make something happen. A core of Betts, Bogaerts, Bradley, and Benintendi can win for a long time and getting Chris Sale was the necessary step towards matching that hossy lineup with an arsenal of dominant pitching.

Dealing Davey did it again, and now the Sox are primed to compete and already are being hailed as perhaps, the best team in the American League.

By Mark Panzini