You really don't need to be both of those things to put up 1.5 fWAR, though.
Example: Bello put up 1.3 fWAR last year in 57.1 innings. Sale himself has put up 1.0 fWAR in those previous 2 aborted seasons over 48.1 innings (meaning that if he pitches as well as he did in those last 2 shortened seasons, he would just need to pitch 73 innings to beat that mark).
Of course there's downside risk, but I would happily happily bet the over on 1.5 fWAR at anything close to even $.
Thanks, I was just using some back of the envelope math and assumed it would need to be more like 90ip to get to 1.5 fWAR (admittedly I just went 42.2 is around 45, for a .8 fWAR in 2021, and then "doubled" it).
Also, just to be clear, I don't in any way think we should give Sale away for nothing. I would like to add a couple of pitchers to have him "earn" his spot in the rotation back, but his upside is so immense that you only deal him if you're getting something you really value in return (as in I'd value Tink Hence and Matthew Liberatore FAR more for the 2025-27 Red Sox than Chris Sale), but certainly not for "just" salary relief or what ever. More that if there is a GM out there whom has done similar research to @Rovin Romine
or others and places a (totally reasonable) similarly high value on Sale and would move those type of prospects for him if he were totally paid for, it's something I think the Red Sox should consider. Not short of that, however.
FWIW, I don't think it's totally unfair to think there is a higher potential of the "bear case" outcome when talking about a 34 year old pitcher whom has always had concerns about his delivery in his scouting profile. I looked up his baseball reference page for similarity scores of pitchers through their age 33 seasons, and then looked at the outcomes of those pitchers in their age 34 and 35 seasons. Here are the pitchers and their fWAR those years.
*Strasburg is his first similarity score through age 33, but we obviously don't know what he's going to put up either, so I went with Corey Kluber as his top similarity score overall instead. Obviously there are some outliers to the good (Schilling, Lee) and some to the bad (Rijo, Fernandez) so they tend to balance each other out.
1*) Corey Kluber - 0.0 and 1.4
2) Adam Wainwright - 2.8 and 1.4
3) Jose Rijo - 0.0 and 0.0 (weirdest baseball reference page I've ever seen, out due to injuries for 5 seasons before coming back to pitch at age 36).
4) Orel Hershiser - 3.0 and 1.1
5) Cliff Lee - 5.6 and 2.0
6) Sid Fernandez - 0.0 and 0.0
7) Johan Santana - 0.0 and 0.0
8) Gary Peters - 1.8 and 0.1
9) Johnny Cueto - 0.5 and 1.5
10) Gehrig38 - 7.2 and 9.3 (what a horse he was).
Average fWAR per season among his top similarity scores through age 33 was 1.91 per year.
If you replace Schilling (honestly, I don't think Sale's frame and delivery are at all like Schilling's were) with Adam Wainwright (ie, count him twice) the number is a 1.29 fWAR. However, as is:
3 of the 10 were worthless (literally, not pitching), I don't think any of us think that for Sale, at least I certainly don't.
5 of 10 (Kluber, Wainwright, Hershiser, Peters and Cueto) combined to average 1.36 fWAR in those seasons
2 of the 10 (Lee and Schilling) combined for 3 of 4 dominant seasons and 1 decent season at a stupid good 6.0 fWAR - and if he's pitching for the Red Sox I certainly HOPE this happens.
I don't like to talk in absolutes, but generally speaking this about lines up what I think as well.
Personally, I look at those similarity scores and infer (just my opinion): the most likely outcome for Sale is a couple of seasons around a 1.30 fWAR (50%), a 25% chance of him being considerably better, a 25% chance of him being worse.
Also, I don't think the 2023 Red Sox are going to be very good, with or without Chris Sale. So if I could trade lets call it a 3.5 fWAR for this year (a repeat of his 2019 season) and $50m for Tink Hence and Matt Liberatore to add to Mayer, Bleis and the rest, I'd do it. Not for salary relief, certainly not with Devers, and not for a couple of "meh" prospects, though.