The Red Sox are glad to have bad contracts for Rusney Castillo and Dustin Pedroia off the books, but there’s another one still weighing Boston down.
That doesn’t mean Boston doesn’t have any bad deals still on the books.
What’s the one contact the Red Sox would really like to be out from under? Right now, it’s Chris Sale.
The Red Sox are still in for the long haul with Chris Sale’s $145 million deal
Boston signed Sale to a five-year, $145 million contract extension in 2019, rewarding his role in the 2018 World Series title and an excellent track record as a seven-time All-Star.
The trouble is Sale has been far from an All-Star since that deal was penned. He made 25 appearances in 2019, going 6-11 with an ERA of 4.40. His performances reflected the drop-off he showed in the 2018 postseason when he had an ERA of 5.76 in 25 innings pitched. Elbow inflammation ended his season early.
Worst of all, he hasn’t pitched since. Last March, Sale underwent Tommy John surgery to address his elbow problem. The reconstruction kept him out for the entire 2020 season, and his 2021 return won’t come particularly soon.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the left-hander will be treated with kid gloves to give his arm as much time as possible to heal. That means he’ll remain out until June at the earliest. Any setbacks, like the neck stiffness that altered his rehab plan over the holidays, could push his return back even further.
It’s not that Sale couldn’t still be a great pitcher for Boston, but he’s an asset that hasn’t given the team any returns for the better part of two seasons. It’ll be months before the Red Sox put him on the mound and even then, there’s no guarantee he’ll be close to the same pitcher he was before.