Chris Sale 2020 - TJ Bound and Down

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The Coney Island of my mind
I'm expecting a very good year from him.
The constant view of him as an albatross contract / mistake contract is really baffling to me.
I've never really understood it either. I always looked at him signing for five (instead of seven) as the trade off for the AAV. Maybe everyone wins in the end, maybe not, but to me the worst thing you might eventually say about the contract is that it was a reasonably calculated gamble that went south.
 

GoDa

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I'm expecting a very good year from him.
The constant view of him as an albatross contract / mistake contract is really baffling to me.
I expect his arm will break in half each time he pitches. There's always the chance of a nice bounce back year - but I think it would be more of the 175 IP variety.

My surprise at the contract signing was that he still hadn't recovered from whatever had ailed him at the end of 2018 and was throwing 85 mph meatballs, while the ink was drying. Why not just wait a bit and see how things went, eh? This is the first year of his new contract. Do you think anyone would've signed him for 6/145 - after last season?
 

JM3

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I feel like a lot of the same people who were saying we should be able to move David Price's $31m/year contract, without having to subsidize it, are the ones complaining about Sale's $29m/year contract.

Despite Sale being significantly better than Price over the last few seasons, healthier than Price, & 4 years younger than Price.
 

canderson

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Chris Sale is sick. He’s fully healthy though.

Sure okay.

I’d be much happier if Sale could finish a season.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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It isnt 2018 and him wearing down that has me concerned. It's his abysmal 2019.
Wasn't his 2019 "abysmal" due to injury/wearing down?

Only 147 innings, but a 3.39 FIP, 1.086 WHIP, and 13.3 K/9 all suggest that if he's healthy, he'll pitch in 2020 as we expect an ace to pitch.
 

Melrose Diner

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Abysmal in terms of ERA? Sure. But his HR/9 numbers suggest that they may be an outlier from his career numbers and if that gets cut down just a bit, the rest of his numbers weren’t too far off from a 2018 where he had a 2.11 ERA so I’m not tremendously concerned about how he pitches when he’s healthy; it’s just that has has to be healthy to pitch
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
I expect his arm will break in half each time he pitches. There's always the chance of a nice bounce back year - but I think it would be more of the 175 IP variety.

My surprise at the contract signing was that he still hadn't recovered from whatever had ailed him at the end of 2018 and was throwing 85 mph meatballs, while the ink was drying. Why not just wait a bit and see how things went, eh? This is the first year of his new contract. Do you think anyone would've signed him for 6/145 - after last season?
Same here. I was relieved at the relatively modest size of the contract when it was announced, but still puzzled that the Sox felt the need to extend him before he had shown he was fully recovered. I guess the idea was that if he'd come back in top form they'd have had to go north of the Price deal to land him.

As albatross contracts go, it's not bad -- more of an overgrown seagull, maybe -- but I do sort of think of Sale these days like a beautiful-but-temperamental British sports car that's a dream to drive when it's on the road, but you just have to accept that it's going to be spending a lot of time in the shop.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I'm expecting a very good year from him.
The constant view of him as an albatross contract / mistake contract is really baffling to me.
He hurt his arm in August 2018, had to be babied the rest of the way that season and in the postseason, and promptly had a godawful year in 2019 where he didn't even pitch 150 innings. His HR rate MORE THAN DOUBLED. He weight about 35 pounds and is nearly 31 years old with more than 1600 innings on the arm, and he's got 5 more years to go on that extension.

Of course it's a massive mistake.
 

Plympton91

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I've never really understood it either. I always looked at him signing for five (instead of seven) as the trade off for the AAV. Maybe everyone wins in the end, maybe not, but to me the worst thing you might eventually say about the contract is that it was a reasonably calculated gamble that went south.
When you sign a pitcher to a $29 million a year contract it should be with the expectation that they can make 30 starts, throw 210 innings and be able to answer the bell the entire post-season, including on 3 days rest, if necessary.

Chris Sale hadn’t finished the year strongly in any of the 4 seasons prior to signing his contract, due to weakness in his shoulder. Last year, his elbow broke down before his shoulder got a chance to wear out again.

I don’t see how anyone can be anything but pessimistic. Hopefully, they can get 150 much better innings from him this year before something breaks.

it was idiotic, low probability gamble that forced them to dump Price to get under the luxury tax. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if Price ends up more valuable than Sale over the next 3 years. If
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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When you sign a pitcher to a $29 million a year contract it should be with the expectation that they can make 30 starts, throw 210 innings and be able to answer the bell the entire post-season, including on 3 days rest, if necessary.

Chris Sale hadn’t finished the year strongly in any of the 4 seasons prior to signing his contract, due to weakness in his shoulder. Last year, his elbow broke down before his shoulder got a chance to wear out again.

I don’t see how anyone can be anything but pessimistic. Hopefully, they can get 150 much better innings from him this year before something breaks.

it was idiotic, low probability gamble that forced them to dump Price to get under the luxury tax. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if Price ends up more valuable than Sale over the next 3 years. If
I agree with every single word of this. He was a massive risk before signing the contract, and he repaid their trust by stinking out loud all season last year, when he wasn't on the DL.

This isn't just a matter of Sale naturally declining towards, say, a 3.50 ERA. This is far more serious. His IP have declined 3 years in a row due to injuries. Extending him was stupid.
 
Sep 29, 2017
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When you sign a pitcher to a $29 million a year contract it should be with the expectation that they can make 30 starts, throw 210 innings and be able to answer the bell the entire post-season, including on 3 days rest, if necessary.
I agree that that is what you may want out of a pitcher for that amount of money but is that really the direction of the game right now as a whole? There were 4 pitchers who broke the 210 IP mark in 2019 and 15 who got above 200. Syndergaard pitched 197.2, I'd be pretty happy with that from Sale.
 

joe dokes

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When you sign a pitcher to a $29 million a year contract it should be with the expectation that they can make 30 starts, throw 210 innings and be able to answer the bell the entire post-season, including on 3 days rest, if necessary.

Chris Sale hadn’t finished the year strongly in any of the 4 seasons prior to signing his contract, due to weakness in his shoulder. Last year, his elbow broke down before his shoulder got a chance to wear out again.

I don’t see how anyone can be anything but pessimistic. Hopefully, they can get 150 much better innings from him this year before something breaks.

it was idiotic, low probability gamble that forced them to dump Price to get under the luxury tax. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if Price ends up more valuable than Sale over the next 3 years. If
30 starts? absolutely. 210IP and 3 days' rest in postseason? Much less so.
 

lexrageorge

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Assuming Sale hasn't infected Fort Myers with the corona virus, we can safely assume a full recovery in the next 7-14 days. Missing the first 2 weeks of Spring Training is not ideal, but it doesn't mean the end of his season either. He would still have all of March to make at least 4 starts before the season begins, which would be twice as many as last spring.

Still, his extension is looking like one of Dombrowski's worse decisions, especially when you consider the resulting side effects.
 

EricFeczko

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it was idiotic, low probability gamble that forced them to dump Price to get under the luxury tax. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if Price ends up more valuable than Sale over the next 3 years. If
This is horrendously overreactive. Price pitched 350 innings over the past 3 years and is 34 years old; Sale pitched 500 innings and is 30.
Sale had more fWAR last year (3.6) than Price had in any of the last three.
EDIT: If sale produces 17 fWAR over the next 5 seasons (2020-2024), he'll have basically earned his contract.
 
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Oppo

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I agree that that is what you may want out of a pitcher for that amount of money but is that really the direction of the game right now as a whole? There were 4 pitchers who broke the 210 IP mark in 2019 and 15 who got above 200. Syndergaard pitched 197.2, I'd be pretty happy with that from Sale.
Plus of those 4 over 210 ip, average IP/GS=Verlander 6.6, Bieber 6.5, Bauer 6.3, and Cole 6.4

To average 7 IP/GS, Verlander would have needed another 15 IP (or started an extra game and gone 22 IP!)
 

OurF'ingCity

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I agree with every single word of this. He was a massive risk before signing the contract, and he repaid their trust by stinking out loud all season last year, when he wasn't on the DL.

This isn't just a matter of Sale naturally declining towards, say, a 3.50 ERA. This is far more serious. His IP have declined 3 years in a row due to injuries. Extending him was stupid.
It's pretty easy to figure out if the extension was bad by imagining the converse scenario where they didn't extend him and he hit free agency this year. Would the Sox have been willing to offer him his current contract this offseason? Given their financial situation I'd say almost certainly not, which, by definition, means the extension was bad.

Still, we can hope that it turns out to have been a mild overpay as opposed to an unmitigated failure, but as SJH, Plympton and others note the signs aren't really pointing in his favor.
 

curly2

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Wasn't his 2019 "abysmal" due to injury/wearing down?

Only 147 innings, but a 3.39 FIP, 1.086 WHIP, and 13.3 K/9 all suggest that if he's healthy, he'll pitch in 2020 as we expect an ace to pitch.
I know every player does better against bad teams than good teams, but Sale's 2019 was off the charts: Against sub-.500 teams, 14 starts, 3.36 ERA, 0.922 WHIP, 9.86 K/BB. Against over-.500 teams, 11 starts, 5.84 ERA, 1.314 WHIP, 3.48 K/BB*

I hope he's healthy and hope he's good, and think he has a god chance to be both, but the 2019 numbers at least raise a red flag.

* The K/BB rate against good teams was still really good.
 

A Bad Man

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My apologies if this has already been posted, but there is an informative article on Sale at MLB.com:
“I think I [threw] off the mound probably six or seven times this offseason,” said Sale. “My body is feeling good. Started flipping some breaking balls and getting after it a little bit. I'm doing normal stuff that I was before and it felt good. We'll just keep building from that.”
“I feel good. I feel confident that when this thing starts, I'm going to be ready for it, and I'll be back to doing what's expected of me. I have a certain expectation level when I step on the mound, and I'm going to get back to that,” said Sale.
“I feel better than I have in a long time, actually,” said Sale. “I've never taken that time off before. I don't know if since I started playing baseball if I've had that time off. Obviously it's something you don't want to have to go through, that was miserable, but there are silver linings in everything.

“You try to take the positives in every crappy scenario that comes up. I think that time off helped my entire body regenerate, my shoulder, my elbow, my forearm, every muscle in my body got a long break and a time to heal. I think in the end it will help me out in the long run.”
 

donutogre

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Thanks for sharing that. I know a lot of people are down on Sale, and I certainly understand why, but I feel like he could be primed for a big bounce-back year. He's not that old, and for better or worse he got a decent amount of time off last year. It sounds like that might have helped him finally get healthy. Yes, he had injury concerns for two seasons running, but the list of pitchers who've had an injury derail them for a good long time and then come back as themselves again isn't THAT small. Clearly something was up for a while, and it's quite possible he's now fully healed.

Of course, he could take the Tim Lincecum path and never get it together again, which would make this a terrible contract and a real bummer. But I'm willing to bet there are some elite seasons left in that arm.
 

Teachdad46

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I don't know how to share the video link itself but here's a link to a Globe column in which is the twitter video Mookie apparently just posted. To my old eyes, it only makes more clear that he's not coming back unless, yannow, he can't afford not to. Which ain't happenin'

 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Well this season is looking better and better :rolleyes:

View: https://twitter.com/AdamMKaufman/status/1233042458050809856?s=20

BREAKING: Chris Sale will NOT start for the #RedSox Opening Day.

In fact, Sale will begin the season on the Injured List, according to
@wbznewsradio’s Jonny Miller in Fort Myers.

Sale last pitched Aug. 13.
Before we over-react in panic, this strikes me as a roster-manipulation move. Sale got a delayed start in his throwing program due to his illness, so with the season starting in exactly four weeks (3/26), it would make sense that they're pushing him back a week to be sure he's fully ramped up for the start of the season.

They'll IL him retroactive to some particular date in order to line him up to be activated and start the home opener on 4/2. In the meantime, they have an extra pitcher in the pen for the first week of the season.
 

joe dokes

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Before we over-react in panic, this strikes me as a roster-manipulation move. Sale got a delayed start in his throwing program due to his illness, so with the season starting in exactly four weeks (3/26), it would make sense that they're pushing him back a week to be sure he's fully ramped up for the start of the season.

They'll IL him retroactive to some particular date in order to line him up to be activated and start the home opener on 4/2. In the meantime, they have an extra pitcher in the pen for the first week of the season.
He's supposed to throw this weekend. If he does, you're likely right.
 

allmanbro

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Before we over-react in panic, this strikes me as a roster-manipulation move. Sale got a delayed start in his throwing program due to his illness, so with the season starting in exactly four weeks (3/26), it would make sense that they're pushing him back a week to be sure he's fully ramped up for the start of the season.

They'll IL him retroactive to some particular date in order to line him up to be activated and start the home opener on 4/2. In the meantime, they have an extra pitcher in the pen for the first week of the season.
This seems right, and here's hoping it is. I have also wondered since the Mookie trade if part of the decision to do the mini-reset now is that the team already knew they couldn't push Sale too hard this year anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if he takes a couple (Pedro-style) IL stint breaks, and caps out around 140 IP even if he's never really injured. Then, hopefully, he can come back in full force next year.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
I wouldn't be surprised if he takes a couple (Pedro-style) IL stint breaks, and caps out around 140 IP even if he's never really injured. Then, hopefully, he can come back in full force next year.
...at which point he would be hitting his age-32 year, and his most recent >160-IP season would be four years in the rearview mirror. I hope I'm wrong, but I suspect this is the new normal. I will be very pleasantly surprised if we get any more 30-start, 5+ WAR kinds of seasons out of him.
 

allmanbro

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...at which point he would be hitting his age-32 year, and his most recent >160-IP season would be four years in the rearview mirror. I hope I'm wrong, but I suspect this is the new normal. I will be very pleasantly surprised if we get any more 30-start, 5+ WAR kinds of seasons out of him.
He did throw 15 playoff innings in 2018, but ya, I think this is most likely. The "optimistic" prediction would be based on the assumption that his problems last year were a result of the 2018 title run (with nagging injuries) and quick turnaround. Maybe building him back up this year can get him back to being able to throw 180IP or so in the future, but that's definitely not something to bank on. People who know more biomechanics than me have been predicting this for years, given his size, effort, and motion.
 

Danny_Darwin

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Don’t forget also that Sale had a shortened spring last year, which many many many SoSHers said was the cause of his woes last year.
 

joyofsox

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Roenicke wants every starting pitcher to make six starts before the regular season. With his missed time, Sale would start only four.
"Nothing at all [wrong] with the arm. He's doing really good. We're really happy with where he's at. This is strictly for missing two weeks and then only being able to give him four starts in Spring Training. ... With the sickness, it cost him two weeks' time and that two weeks is what we'd like to give him to make sure he's right. ... We didn't think four starts in Spring Training was fair to him to make him start the season."

Sale: "I think they just want me to get fully stretched out and get where I need to be. I started two weeks late, so I've got to stay two weeks late. Simple math will tell you that kind of makes sense."
 

johnnywayback

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I really hope the Next Great Red Sox Team is rooted in a core of excellent position players, supplemented by a massive supply of cheap, fungible, high-upside lottery ticket arms. Seems like a better way to build long-term success than counting on established, expensive pitchers in their 30s to stay healthy.
 

joe dokes

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I really hope the Next Great Red Sox Team is rooted in a core of excellent position players, supplemented by a massive supply of cheap, fungible, high-upside lottery ticket arms. Seems like a better way to build long-term success than counting on established, expensive pitchers in their 30s to stay healthy.
That's essentially what John Henry said about Jon Lester. He may have been wrong about Lester, in particular, but the overall sentiment remains accurate.
 

Beale13

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Feb 2, 2006
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Get the TJ now, come back in 2021 and try to salvage the final four years of the deal.
100% yes. I almost hope he needs it, because maybe he'll come back from it closer to his peak than he's been the last two years. This is exactly the right season for him to have to miss.