According to Forbes’ Mike Dowling, Chris Sale is on the verge of signing a $35 Million per year extension for 7 years. ***Update – He’s getting a 5 Year $150 Million contract*** The gut reaction of some fans is ‘Woah woah woah, he’s got a 5+ ERA in the playoffs!’. While that is true, he’s also on the road to a Hall Of Fame career. Here are some reasons why, despite the risk, he’s worth it.
All Time Leader
This guy is historically great. Baseball Reference is a beautiful collection of any baseball stat you can imagine. Chris Sale’s page has two rare commodities: gold stats. They might as well make them platinum, because they annotate an All Time Career Record.
Chris Sale is a poetry of power, finesse, and efficiency. We thought we would never see the likes of Pedro Martinez pitching for the Red Sox ever again. We were wrong. Chris Sale currently holds the All Time Record in K/9, or strike outs per 9 innings. His 10.9 is higher than Pedro, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Nolan Ryan, and any other great you can think of.
Not only that, but his 5.31 K/BB, or strike outs per walk, blows away the competition of any other control artist. Greg Maddux is 3.37, Schilling is 4.38. These are Buggs Bunny numbers.
He is bar none the best strike out machine, and control artist, ever. Sale is changing the game. We’re talking Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling. That piece of art vaulted the Renaissance into the Baroque. Chris Sale is baseball’s Michelangelo, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Belichick.
In 2018 Chris Sale set a number of incredible career highs. His 2.11 ERA, .861 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched), 6.97 K/BB, and 13.5 K/9 last year were all career highs.
And 2018 continued a 6 year streak of finishing in the top 5 of the Cy Young voting.
He Gets It
Chris Sale is not a self promoter, but no one gets it like this guy. Here is what he said in mid February when talking about his contract situation:
“It’s not about buying anything. It’s about playing for Championships.”
When he got injured in August of last year:
“I’m not going to sit around and pout, I’ve got to keep my chin up. I’m on the best team that’s ever walked the planet.
He’s team first, he doesn’t make excuses. And he’s a team leader too. Take yourself back to Game 4 of the World Series. The Sox were down 4-0 to the Dodgers heading into the 7th inning, after only scoring 2 in 18 innings the night before. Nobody revealed exactly was said, but here’s some reactions:
“It scared me a little bit because I had never seen him yell like that and the words that he was saying.”Rafael Devers
“Oh my God, he was mad at us. I think that lit a fire under everyone. We didn’t want to see him mad anymore. So we decided to to start swinging the bats a little bit.”Brock Holt
The Sox ended up scoring 3 in the top of the 7th, and ultimately winning the game 9-6.
Many point out that Sale has a history of fading in the second half of seasons. While true, his career greatness means that in the first half he’s generally in greatest season of All Time territory, while his second halfs are more top 5 in the game at that time. Very high standards.
But it doesn’t change the fact that his limited postseasons haven’t been great, and he did miss significant time last year. The details have been hard to come by, but last year there was some sort of shoulder problem. It was commonly referred to as shoulder weakness, and anything else has been speculation. But it was enough to knock him out for the majority of the second half last year.
Chris Sale’s dominance and virtuosity make him worthy of a mind numbing contract like $35 Million for 7 years. Alex Cora is a genius, and maybe he and his team have figured out the Chris Sale health riddle.
The last time we saw him we saw this:
Worth every penny.