Red Sox Rumors - Just Kidding

Red(s)HawksFan

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Seems to me that the times where a 2B would be throwing as hard as they can to 1B are when they're physically moving away from 1B, such as going up the middle or across the 2B bag on a double play turn. In either case, their hardest is still not going to be all that fast.
 

nvalvo

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Jul 16, 2005
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Red Sox view the rotation as an area of depth??!? Even though they haven’t yet added a starter even though that was one of their goals? I’m really confused.

Merry Christmas, everyone!
Not to single you out, but remember: this front office does not leak. Anything you read in the press about their intentions is either (rarely) them spinning something to their advantage, or (far more likely) planted by some agent spinning some scenario to their advantage. The things Bloom actually says do seem to be his intentions, but he does fairly little of that.

Look at the things that have happened this offseason. Did we hear anything from anyone about Yoshida or Turner or Jansen until those deals were done? Smoke doesn't just not indicate fire, it actually indicates that fire is less likely — or that someone else is trying desperately to make fire happen. That some goal of the Red Sox FO is reported in the press — without a direct, named attribution and quote from Bloom or Kennedy or someone — might actually make it less likely to be true. These rumors are not useless, however! What people are saying about the Red Sox’ intentions can tell us something about *other actors'* intentions.

As for the merits, I have trouble imagining a realistic deal sending Sale out that would actually improve the team, so I'm pretty dubious. The scenarios where we contend are scenarios where we get at least a decent contribution from him. His deal is only 2/$26m AAV at this point, plus an option, so it's not exactly a crushing burden, and he's probably the most likely source of ace-level innings on this staff, even as he isn't especially likely to provide them at this point.

That said, I also imagine his contract isn't that far underwater at this point (if at all — BTV has -13, but I think that might be low), given what Rodón got. It's not like you're that much more likely to get an ace-level season from Rodón than from Sale, and the commitment is short and contains the possibility of real upside with that $20m team option for 2025.

So there may be a scenario where you could move Sale for a small return and reallocate that money to another SP and improve the team, but that seems like a tough needle to thread.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Yeah, since Heyman is speculating, there is virtually no chance anything comes of this, as any "discussions" have likely already happened and nothing came of them.

Admittedly, I'm more bearish on Sale than plenty of other people on the board and if one set his over/under of fWAR at 1.5 I'm taking the under easily (as in I don't think there is a high likelihood of a 34 year old coming off three seasons of injury with his frame and delivery being both durable AND effective), but even with that said, there aren't a lot of deals out there that would make sense, at least in my opinion.

Freeing up salary at this point in the off-season is a worthless goal in that there isn't anything left to spend it on that is either consistent enough production or high enough upside on the risk to reward scale as Sale in theory could provide. Attaching him to Devers would be moronic for the same reasons.

There was some talk earlier as to when the next "window" was for the Red Sox, and even though I'm not really optimistic on how big that window is going to be, I agree that if it's going to be a window it will be around 2025-2027 as some others have alluded to if Bloom's farm system is as good as people are claiming it to be. So, with that said, if we were able to "buy" more high level prospects to fit in to the time frame of Mayer, et al with a fully paid off Sale, that is certainly something I'd be interested in.

As in, just looking at the Trade Simulator on BTV, a deal with the Cardinals of a fully paid off Sale (ie Sale plus $50m) for Hence and Liberatore is "accepted." As is a deal with the Giants of a fully paid off Sale for Kyle Harrison. How realistic are those type of deals - probably not very - no idea on if the commissioner would allow that, and I don't think St Louis or San Francisco would consider that, but my point is THAT is the type of scenario where I'd certainly be interested in moving Sale. Get rid of someone whom is very unlikely to be part of the core of the Red Sox during an open window for someone who might be. Put another way, I'd RATHER allocate $50m to pay for the next 6 seasons of control on Kyle Harrison than the next two seasons of Chris Sale, if that type of move is at all realistic - and even based on "valuations", it probably isn't.

If trades are more in the vein of we pay a portion of Sale's salary and are capped at the "Binelas and Winckowski" level of prospects, you hold Sale and hope for the best because that return isn't worthwhile.
 
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walt in maryland

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Jul 16, 2005
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Not to single you out, but remember: this front office does not leak. Anything you read in the press about their intentions is either (rarely) them spinning something to their advantage, or (far more likely) planted by some agent spinning some scenario to their advantage. The things Bloom actually says do seem to be his intentions, but he does fairly little of that.

Look at the things that have happened this offseason. Did we hear anything from anyone about Yoshida or Turner or Jansen until those deals were done? Smoke doesn't just not indicate fire, it actually indicates that fire is less likely — or that someone else is trying desperately to make fire happen. That some goal of the Red Sox FO is reported in the press — without a direct, named attribution and quote from Bloom or Kennedy or someone — might actually make it less likely to be true. These rumors are not useless, however! What people are saying about the Red Sox’ intentions can tell us something about *other actors'* intentions.

As for the merits, I have trouble imagining a realistic deal sending Sale out that would actually improve the team, so I'm pretty dubious. The scenarios where we contend are scenarios where we get at least a decent contribution from him. His deal is only 2/$26m AAV at this point, plus an option, so it's not exactly a crushing burden, and he's probably the most likely source of ace-level innings on this staff, even as he isn't especially likely to provide them at this point.

That said, I also imagine his contract isn't that far underwater at this point (if at all — BTV has -13, but I think that might be low), given what Rodón got. It's not like you're that much more likely to get an ace-level season from Rodón than from Sale, and the commitment is short and contains the possibility of real upside with that $20m team option for 2025.

So there may be a scenario where you could move Sale for a small return and reallocate that money to another SP and improve the team, but that seems like a tough needle to thread.
Well said. There could come a time when trading Sale would make sense for the Red Sox, but that time certainly isn't now. What team is going to take on the $55 million left on his deal, give the Red Sox a decent player/prospect return AND convince Sale to waive his 10-5 rights (this will take more $$$)?
 

PedroKsBambino

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Not to single you out, but remember: this front office does not leak. Anything you read in the press about their intentions is either (rarely) them spinning something to their advantage, or (far more likely) planted by some agent spinning some scenario to their advantage. The things Bloom actually says do seem to be his intentions, but he does fairly little of that.

Look at the things that have happened this offseason. Did we hear anything from anyone about Yoshida or Turner or Jansen until those deals were done? Smoke doesn't just not indicate fire, it actually indicates that fire is less likely — or that someone else is trying desperately to make fire happen. That some goal of the Red Sox FO is reported in the press — without a direct, named attribution and quote from Bloom or Kennedy or someone — might actually make it less likely to be true. These rumors are not useless, however! What people are saying about the Red Sox’ intentions can tell us something about *other actors'* intentions.

As for the merits, I have trouble imagining a realistic deal sending Sale out that would actually improve the team, so I'm pretty dubious. The scenarios where we contend are scenarios where we get at least a decent contribution from him. His deal is only 2/$26m AAV at this point, plus an option, so it's not exactly a crushing burden, and he's probably the most likely source of ace-level innings on this staff, even as he isn't especially likely to provide them at this point.

That said, I also imagine his contract isn't that far underwater at this point (if at all — BTV has -13, but I think that might be low), given what Rodón got. It's not like you're that much more likely to get an ace-level season from Rodón than from Sale, and the commitment is short and contains the possibility of real upside with that $20m team option for 2025.

So there may be a scenario where you could move Sale for a small return and reallocate that money to another SP and improve the team, but that seems like a tough needle to thread.
I agree with you on Sox not leaking and that requiring us to focus on the "why" far more than treating what we read as "truth"

On Sale, the risk people are underplaying, in my view, is that he just doesn't return to form. TJ surgery has a high success rate---80-85% by one study, https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/12648769/what-missed-tommy-john-surgery 80-95% by another. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/tommy-john-surgery

However, those are not 100% and Sale has some risk factors: scouts have long questioned his delivery/motion; he has had other injuries, and we also have not seem him return to form yet. So I agree with those who say the probability is he returns to being a 1-2 level starter, which is reasonable value for his contract. And part of the reason you'd think about dumping him if you could do so is the Sox may believe he's in the minority of pitchers who will not get it fully back post-TJ and that likely makes him overpaid...and very risky. You can figure in track record, age, conditioning, whatever else is in his scans, etc. as you may---we simply don't have access to detailed enough info on all that to be sure.

So, the idea is not as simple as "he was hurt in past, he'll get hurt again" but rather "the data suggests some pitchers do not fully recover, he has both some risk factors in his delivery and small warning signs in his small sample of post TJ performance, and these together raise risk he does not fully recover". I suspect there are also some folks who believe that his approach is a concern; I don't have enough data to assess that beyond his unhelpful vaccination position, but imagine the Sox are calibrating that whichever way they are based on a lot better data than any of us have.
 

DJnVa

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Dec 16, 2010
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Seems to me that the times where a 2B would be throwing as hard as they can to 1B are when they're physically moving away from 1B, such as going up the middle or across the 2B bag on a double play turn. In either case, their hardest is still not going to be all that fast.
But isn't Story's average being measured against other 2B here? Sure they're not throwing as hard as SS because they don't have to, but he's still throwing at a lower level than most other 2B, and that could be concerning for a shift back to SS.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Dec 7, 2022
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I agree with you on Sox not leaking and that requiring us to focus on the "why" far more than treating what we read as "truth"

On Sale, the risk people are underplaying, in my view, is that he just doesn't return to form. TJ surgery has a high success rate---80-85% by one study, https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/12648769/what-missed-tommy-john-surgery 80-95% by another. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/tommy-john-surgery

However, those are not 100% and Sale has some risk factors: scouts have long questioned his delivery/motion; he has had other injuries, and we also have not seem him return to form yet. So I agree with those who say the probability is he returns to being a 1-2 level starter, which is reasonable value for his contract. And part of the reason you'd think about dumping him if you could do so is the Sox may believe he's in the minority of pitchers who will not get it fully back post-TJ and that likely makes him overpaid...and very risky. You can figure in track record, age, conditioning, whatever else is in his scans, etc. as you may---we simply don't have access to detailed enough info on all that to be sure.

So, the idea is not as simple as "he was hurt in past, he'll get hurt again" but rather "the data suggests some pitchers do not fully recover, he has both some risk factors in his delivery and small warning signs in his small sample of post TJ performance, and these together raise risk he does not fully recover". I suspect there are also some folks who believe that his approach is a concern; I don't have enough data to assess that beyond his unhelpful vaccination position, but imagine the Sox are calibrating that whichever way they are based on a lot better data than any of us have.
Thank you for saying this in a better manner than I have been able to, while trying to convey a similar concern.

Also, there are plenty of people on here smarter than I am whom are beyond confident that Sale is a good bet to give us something along the lines of an approximately 3.5 fWAR season (or better). This is an admittedly arbitrary number, but I arrived at it by looking back to 2019 he put up almost exactly 150ip with a 3.39FIP and a 3.51 xERA, good for a 3.6 fWAR, and I think that is around what people whom are fully in the Sale camp are expecting. IF there are GMs out there whom feel the same way (if SoSH is probably leaning toward more "pro" Sale than "anti" Sale at this point, there are probably at worst some GMs whom feel similar) and are willing to allow us to buy top prospects in return, I'd think that would make a ton of sense for the Red Sox.

Though I still think any Sale deal should be dependent on the quality of prospects we could "buy" if we were to fully pay his salary (and I don't think there will be ANY Sale deal since there are leaks, meaning nothing doing).
 

jon abbey

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But isn't Story's average being measured against other 2B here? Sure they're not throwing as hard as SS because they don't have to, but he's still throwing at a lower level than most other 2B, and that could be concerning for a shift back to SS.
The Story arm strength concerns go back to his SS days in COL, especially the second half of 2021.

“In 2020, Story averaged 82.3 mph as a Rockies shortstop -- a good-not-great number, slightly below average for shortstops. In 2021, still at shortstop, that was down to 79.1 mph, largely believed to be related to a midseason elbow injury. In 2022, that’s down again, to 76 mph. So is that because the elbow isn’t allowing harder throws -- not that it’s mattered much, as he’s been excellent defensively -- or because his new position doesn’t demand it?

One answer to that is in the context of his new position; 76 mph is one of the weakest marks of any regular second baseman. But there’s also this, that Story has 195 tracked throws of at least 80 mph in his career -- he even topped 90 a few times early on -- but it’s happened only once since the 2021 All-Star break. It’s been well over a year since his last 80 mph+ throw, much of which he spent at shortstop; Arizona’s Ketel Marte, comparatively, has six such throws just this month.”

https://www.mlb.com/news/ronald-acuna-jr-owns-2022s-strongest-throwing-arm
 

BaseballJones

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Oct 1, 2015
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It would be an interesting study to find out how many outs are made or not made based on Story’s level of arm strength, especially when measured against his elite range and fielding.

In other words, let’s grant the premise that he has a weak arm. Surely there will be plays where that costs the pitching staff outs. How many though? And does he make up for it with elite fielding, getting to (and fielding cleanly) balls that other SS simply don’t?

That is… even with a weak arm, is he still a plus (or at least average) fielder at shortstop? Because it’s possible he is.
 

PedroKsBambino

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It would be an interesting study to find out how many outs are made or not made based on Story’s level of arm strength, especially when measured against his elite range and fielding.

In other words, let’s grant the premise that he has a weak arm. Surely there will be plays where that costs the pitching staff outs. How many though? And does he make up for it with elite fielding, getting to (and fielding cleanly) balls that other SS simply don’t?

That is… even with a weak arm, is he still a plus (or at least average) fielder at shortstop? Because it’s possible he is.
I agree, that's a lot more relevant question to be asking.

I also think it is possible---and this is just speculation---that there is a fear he has an injury or is susceptible to one if he has to regularly make longer/faster throws. As with the Sale discussion, this is one where we just have so much less granular and specific information than the team does it is all speculation. Though we can certainly observe their actions and draw some conclusions from those...
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I agree with you on Sox not leaking and that requiring us to focus on the "why" far more than treating what we read as "truth"

On Sale, the risk people are underplaying, in my view, is that he just doesn't return to form. TJ surgery has a high success rate---80-85% by one study, https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/12648769/what-missed-tommy-john-surgery 80-95% by another. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/tommy-john-surgery

However, those are not 100% and Sale has some risk factors: scouts have long questioned his delivery/motion; he has had other injuries, and we also have not seem him return to form yet. So I agree with those who say the probability is he returns to being a 1-2 level starter, which is reasonable value for his contract. And part of the reason you'd think about dumping him if you could do so is the Sox may believe he's in the minority of pitchers who will not get it fully back post-TJ and that likely makes him overpaid...and very risky. You can figure in track record, age, conditioning, whatever else is in his scans, etc. as you may---we simply don't have access to detailed enough info on all that to be sure.

So, the idea is not as simple as "he was hurt in past, he'll get hurt again" but rather "the data suggests some pitchers do not fully recover, he has both some risk factors in his delivery and small warning signs in his small sample of post TJ performance, and these together raise risk he does not fully recover". I suspect there are also some folks who believe that his approach is a concern; I don't have enough data to assess that beyond his unhelpful vaccination position, but imagine the Sox are calibrating that whichever way they are based on a lot better data than any of us have.
I guess the jury is still out, but it’s not like Sale never made it back after his TJS. His start against Tampa was good. Hit 97 and went strong 5 innings. Is that sustainable? He was getting knocked around by NY in his abbreviated 2d start...

If it’s me, there’s no way I trade Sale right now; it would be dealing at low value. And there’s no way I’m attaching him to Devers just to save money while watering down a potential return. I’ve seen that movie before, and the circumstances today don’t warrant such a cost-savings move.
 

Rovin Romine

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I agree with you on Sox not leaking and that requiring us to focus on the "why" far more than treating what we read as "truth"

On Sale, the risk people are underplaying, in my view, is that he just doesn't return to form. TJ surgery has a high success rate---80-85% by one study, https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/12648769/what-missed-tommy-john-surgery 80-95% by another. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/tommy-john-surgery

However, those are not 100% and Sale has some risk factors: scouts have long questioned his delivery/motion; he has had other injuries, and we also have not seem him return to form yet. So I agree with those who say the probability is he returns to being a 1-2 level starter, which is reasonable value for his contract. And part of the reason you'd think about dumping him if you could do so is the Sox may believe he's in the minority of pitchers who will not get it fully back post-TJ and that likely makes him overpaid...and very risky. You can figure in track record, age, conditioning, whatever else is in his scans, etc. as you may---we simply don't have access to detailed enough info on all that to be sure.

So, the idea is not as simple as "he was hurt in past, he'll get hurt again" but rather "the data suggests some pitchers do not fully recover, he has both some risk factors in his delivery and small warning signs in his small sample of post TJ performance, and these together raise risk he does not fully recover". I suspect there are also some folks who believe that his approach is a concern; I don't have enough data to assess that beyond his unhelpful vaccination position, but imagine the Sox are calibrating that whichever way they are based on a lot better data than any of us have.
Sure, Sale's health is fair to question. But the degree to which one questions it probably should be no greater or worse than Eovaldi or Wacha or Whitlock or Houck. Meaning, it's possible any of these guys might be injured in 2023. And yet. . .somewhat vague heath concerns without looking at numbers only seems to apply to one pitcher of any of those possible starters for us. And apply with an incredible persistence on this board.

However, we do know a bit about Sale's stuff post TJS and the sample size is probably large enough to be convincing to a relatively fair mind.

So, for starters, Sale actually came back from TJ surgery in 2021.
First, there was a lengthy minor league rehab (20 innings, 5 starts): https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=sale--001chr.
Then he made 9 ML starts: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=salech01&t=p&year=2021
Then he went on to make 3 post-season starts, with mixed results: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=salech01&t=p&year=0&post=1

So from that we can deduce that his elbow is not likely to explode right away from a botched surgery - he's gotten something like a half-season of starts in.

Now, the more important thing is his pitch velocity and movement does not look to have been hugely impacted if at all:
59416


Horizontal movement:
59417

Vertical movment:
59418


So the takeaway should be that he's physically capable. (Or was at the close of 2021.) In the general sense that he can basically throw as he did.


In 2022 Sale injured a rib. As far as we know, this has absolutely nothing to to with his TJ elbow surgery.
He had completely healed (rib) to the point where he rehabbed/ramped up in the minors (11 innings, 4 starts) https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=sale--001chr.
Then he made 2 ML starts, and got his finger brutally broken on his 25th pitch of the second start. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=salech01&t=p&year=2022

The velocity numbers for 2022 are a much smaller sample size (obviously), but they look both better than 2021 and in keeping with the range of his career norms, including his peak years. It may not be a green flag - but in no way is it a yellow or red one.


So I think the rational dead-center takeaway ought to be that absent a freak injury, Sale's likely to be an effective starter. While his post-season in 2021 was not good, pitchers have blips. But there's nothing in the underlying pitch data that indicates he can't be effective. I mean, it's not like he's totally lost his slider or anything close to it.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Sure, Sale's health is fair to question. But the degree to which one questions it probably should be no greater or worse than Eovaldi or Wacha or Whitlock or Houck. Meaning, it's possible any of these guys might be injured in 2023. And yet. . .somewhat vague heath concerns without looking at numbers only seems to apply to one pitcher of any of those possible starters for us. And apply with an incredible persistence on this board.

However, we do know a bit about Sale's stuff post TJS and the sample size is probably large enough to be convincing to a relatively fair mind.

So, for starters, Sale actually came back from TJ surgery in 2021.
First, there was a lengthy minor league rehab (20 innings, 5 starts): https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=sale--001chr.
Then he made 9 ML starts: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=salech01&t=p&year=2021
Then he went on to make 3 post-season starts, with mixed results: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=salech01&t=p&year=0&post=1

So from that we can deduce that his elbow is not likely to explode right away from a botched surgery - he's gotten something like a half-season of starts in.

Now, the more important thing is his pitch velocity and movement does not look to have been hugely impacted if at all:
View attachment 59416


Horizontal movement:
View attachment 59417

Vertical movment:
View attachment 59418


So the takeaway should be that he's physically capable. (Or was at the close of 2021.) In the general sense that he can basically throw as he did.


In 2022 Sale injured a rib. As far as we know, this has absolutely nothing to to with his TJ elbow surgery.
He had completely healed (rib) to the point where he rehabbed/ramped up in the minors (11 innings, 4 starts) https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=sale--001chr.
Then he made 2 ML starts, and got his finger brutally broken on his 25th pitch of the second start. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=salech01&t=p&year=2022

The velocity numbers for 2022 are a much smaller sample size (obviously), but they look both better than 2021 and in keeping with the range of his career norms, including his peak years. It may not be a green flag - but in no way is it a yellow or red one.


So I think the rational dead-center takeaway ought to be that absent a freak injury, Sale's likely to be an effective starter. While his post-season in 2021 was not good, pitchers have blips. But there's nothing in the underlying pitch data that indicates he can't be effective. I mean, it's not like he's totally lost his slider or anything close to it.
Thanks, a great deep dive.

To be clear I am not anti-Sale, and would probably (having not done a full deep dive) say he has the best chance of any Sox starter of being a frontline starter at 160 IP -plus in 2023. What's different about him is not just about performance---and I do ascribe more risk to the 2021 postseason than you do, in part because it's the most recent "full usage" data we have as the limited 2022 data is such uniquely small usage and longer rest---it is about salary.

So while there may be folks in the thread saying he is certainly done, I am not one of them. I just think it's a more complicated assessment with him than many pitchers, so I'd listen on him...but as I believe I said in my initial post, I tend to doubt anyone else would value him at a level where I'd want Sox to deal him. I'd expect to prefer his upside to the likely trade return (which to me is likely to be break-even or subsidized...which I would not do)
 

dynomite

Member
SoSH Member
Sure, Sale's health is fair to question. But the degree to which one questions it probably should be no greater or worse than Eovaldi or Wacha or Whitlock or Houck. Meaning, it's possible any of these guys might be injured in 2023. And yet. . .somewhat vague heath concerns without looking at numbers only seems to apply to one pitcher of any of those possible starters for us. And apply with an incredible persistence on this board.

However, we do know a bit about Sale's stuff post TJS and the sample size is probably large enough to be convincing to a relatively fair mind.

So, for starters, Sale actually came back from TJ surgery in 2021.
First, there was a lengthy minor league rehab (20 innings, 5 starts): https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=sale--001chr.
Then he made 9 ML starts: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=salech01&t=p&year=2021
Then he went on to make 3 post-season starts, with mixed results: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=salech01&t=p&year=0&post=1

So from that we can deduce that his elbow is not likely to explode right away from a botched surgery - he's gotten something like a half-season of starts in.

Now, the more important thing is his pitch velocity and movement does not look to have been hugely impacted if at all:
View attachment 59416


Horizontal movement:
View attachment 59417

Vertical movment:
View attachment 59418


So the takeaway should be that he's physically capable. (Or was at the close of 2021.) In the general sense that he can basically throw as he did.


In 2022 Sale injured a rib. As far as we know, this has absolutely nothing to to with his TJ elbow surgery.
He had completely healed (rib) to the point where he rehabbed/ramped up in the minors (11 innings, 4 starts) https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=sale--001chr.
Then he made 2 ML starts, and got his finger brutally broken on his 25th pitch of the second start. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=salech01&t=p&year=2022

The velocity numbers for 2022 are a much smaller sample size (obviously), but they look both better than 2021 and in keeping with the range of his career norms, including his peak years. It may not be a green flag - but in no way is it a yellow or red one.


So I think the rational dead-center takeaway ought to be that absent a freak injury, Sale's likely to be an effective starter. While his post-season in 2021 was not good, pitchers have blips. But there's nothing in the underlying pitch data that indicates he can't be effective. I mean, it's not like he's totally lost his slider or anything close to it.
This is a great post. Thanks for the research and sound reasoning.

Trying to add something of value, seeing as this is the Rumors thread, has there been any updates since November to the notion that Whitlock and Houck are both going to be starters? https://www.si.com/mlb/red-sox/.amp/news/red-sox-finally-reveal-garrett-whitlock-tanner-houcks-roles-for-2023

It sounded like they were still leaving the door open to Houck staying in the bullpen — presumably if they added another SP?
 
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Rovin Romine

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I just think it's a more complicated assessment with him than many pitchers, so I'd listen on him...but as I believe I said in my initial post, I tend to doubt anyone else would value him at a level where I'd want Sox to deal him. I'd expect to prefer his upside to the likely trade return (which to me is likely to be break-even or subsidized...which I would not do)
FWIW, we're agreed in that I don't think anyone has set out a good argument trade for Sale. Sure, there are scenarios that make sense for trading any player (basically if you know another team overvalues the player relative to the value they're actually going to bring to your club), but given the circumstances I don't see why you wouldn't play him.
 

Rovin Romine

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Trying to add something of value, seeing as this is the Rumors thread, has there been any updates since November to the notion that Whitlock and Houck are both going to be starters? https://www.si.com/mlb/red-sox/.amp/news/red-sox-finally-reveal-garrett-whitlock-tanner-houcks-roles-for-2023

It sounded like they were still leaving the door open to Houck staying in the bullpen — presumably if they added another SP?
Nope - just as quiet as the CF/2B/SS situation. I think an upgrade might shuffle some pieces around both there and on the pitching front.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Sure, Sale's health is fair to question. But the degree to which one questions it probably should be no greater or worse than Eovaldi or Wacha or Whitlock or Houck. Meaning, it's possible any of these guys might be injured in 2023. And yet. . .somewhat vague heath concerns without looking at numbers only seems to apply to one pitcher of any of those possible starters for us. And apply with an incredible persistence on this board.

However, we do know a bit about Sale's stuff post TJS and the sample size is probably large enough to be convincing to a relatively fair mind.

So, for starters, Sale actually came back from TJ surgery in 2021.
First, there was a lengthy minor league rehab (20 innings, 5 starts): https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=sale--001chr.
Then he made 9 ML starts: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=salech01&t=p&year=2021
Then he went on to make 3 post-season starts, with mixed results: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=salech01&t=p&year=0&post=1

So from that we can deduce that his elbow is not likely to explode right away from a botched surgery - he's gotten something like a half-season of starts in.

Now, the more important thing is his pitch velocity and movement does not look to have been hugely impacted if at all:
View attachment 59416


Horizontal movement:
View attachment 59417

Vertical movment:
View attachment 59418


So the takeaway should be that he's physically capable. (Or was at the close of 2021.) In the general sense that he can basically throw as he did.


In 2022 Sale injured a rib. As far as we know, this has absolutely nothing to to with his TJ elbow surgery.
He had completely healed (rib) to the point where he rehabbed/ramped up in the minors (11 innings, 4 starts) https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=sale--001chr.
Then he made 2 ML starts, and got his finger brutally broken on his 25th pitch of the second start. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=salech01&t=p&year=2022

The velocity numbers for 2022 are a much smaller sample size (obviously), but they look both better than 2021 and in keeping with the range of his career norms, including his peak years. It may not be a green flag - but in no way is it a yellow or red one.


So I think the rational dead-center takeaway ought to be that absent a freak injury, Sale's likely to be an effective starter. While his post-season in 2021 was not good, pitchers have blips. But there's nothing in the underlying pitch data that indicates he can't be effective. I mean, it's not like he's totally lost his slider or anything close to it.
This is a great post and the reason why SoSH is unlike other places. First, I have to admit, I'm incapable of adding info like this. For the most part I try to add worthwhile questions and concerns and hope to hear back from smarter posters and occasionally offer my opinion on stuff. This post brings me back to the great days after a start when Jnai and Spowl and others would post Pitch F/X data and the discussion was on great objective empirical stuff.

So now... .my barely informed opinion. I don't like Sale and think he's an assface but when he's healthy and sharp, he's a joy to watch almost as close as Pedro. His command and execution is fantastic and I, along with I'm 100% sure every single poster here, would love that guy to be on the team and nobody gives a flying fuck how much of John Henry's money is spent on him doing that. I'd love to hear anyone argue otherwise!

But he's likely not that guy now, nor ever again. And he's likely not worth the money John Henry is paying him. Anyone argue otherwise?
The question here is; is he possibly going to be good enough to contribute better than most other starters on the roster right now and I'd argue that he still is. I expect to hear dissent on this, of course. But for those that do, then it's a question of: would he be better traded considering the likely return. Other teams have the advantage here. Boston is completely stuck right now unless they really just want him gone and will take back whatever they can get. That, to me... is just not worth it.

Depending on what happens with Devers and with trades (and honestly, I don't really see any out there that move the team now and the future teams forward... all are very lateral moves) and where the team is at mid-season.... I think it's absolutely the best thing to keep Sale on the team as the opening day starter.
 

Blizzard of 1978

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The best time to trade Sale is at the trading deadline. The Red Sox will get more value. Same with Devers. Also, If they traded both now that says to Red Sox fans they are punting 2023 season. I think they think this team can make playoffs. If not than around MLB trading deadline they might trade both because they will have a higher value.
 

E5 Yaz

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The best time to trade Sale is at the trading deadline. The Red Sox will get more value. Same with Devers. Also, If they traded both now that says to Red Sox fans they are punting 2023 season. I think they think this team can make playoffs. If not than around MLB trading deadline they might trade both because they will have a higher value.
Why do you believe they would have a higher value at the deadline, as opposed to the team trading for them having them for a full season?
 

jon abbey

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Also midseason, the acquiring team loses the right to offer them a QO and get draft compensation if they reject it.
 

LogansDad

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I with @Blizzard of 1978 on Sale, who I don't think has ever had lower trade value. Assuming reasonable health and effectiveness, I think if the Sox fall out of contention (I don't believe they will) Sale will only increase in value once he proves he can pitch.

If they have decided to move Devers (I am not convinced they have) the time to do it is now, ASAP, or at least before the season starts. 1) The full season of Devers is far more valuable to other teams than he would be at the deadline, so the return will be better and 2) if this is the route they go, they need to rip the band-aid off and get it done. The last thing this organization needs right now is a prolonged Devers drama after what happened with Xander.

Edit: And also what jon abbey said.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Why do you believe they would have a higher value at the deadline, as opposed to the team trading for them having them for a full season?
I think the only way in which Sale has more value in a trade at the deadline is that he'll have a half season of proof he's recovered from the finger and wrist injuries (not that his right wrist is a big concern). But I suspect the larger factor in what he's worth in trade is how much of his salary the Red Sox would be willing to eat, which is why they shouldn't be shopping him around (listen if someone comes calling but don't actively pursue trade partners).

There's no world in which Devers is more valuable in seven months than he is right now.
 

tims4wins

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Devers would definitely have a higher trade value today.

Sale, I think if he comes back and pitches well and doesn't get re-injured, could up his trade value. But if that's the case, I'm not sure why you'd want to trade him.

Edit: I guess if he pitches well and you're still clearly out of the race you'd probably do it
 

Rovin Romine

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I'm guessing he means that if Sale is injured or having a bad season, he might not bring as much at the trade deadline as he would be before either of those things would happen.
No, he said it's a "significant risk" that Sale is injured or in the midst of a bad season at that point.

And one of the reasons I'm interested in this is that a Mod recently encouraged me to abandon snark and go for substantive posts. My own thought was that given the social tenor of the board that's quite possibly a waste of time.

So I'd like to see if this response really is just an unsupported emotional reflex (of the kind we're seeing way too much of), or if there's some articulable reason for the position.

Have I entirely wasted my time by looking up the data for everyone?
 

simplicio

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I'd say there's a "significant risk" of any player having a down/injured season and being less valuable at the deadline (see JDM 2022), but I don't see Sale's injuries as being predictive and contributing to a greater risk than your average starter.
 

JM3

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Admittedly, I'm more bearish on Sale than plenty of other people on the board and if one set his over/under of fWAR at 1.5 I'm taking the under easily (as in I don't think there is a high likelihood of a 34 year old coming off three seasons of injury with his frame and delivery being both durable AND effective), but even with that said, there aren't a lot of deals out there that would make sense, at least in my opinion.
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 $.
 

DisgruntledSoxFan77

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I'm guessing he means that if Sale is injured or having a bad season, he might not bring as much at the trade deadline as he would be before either of those things would happen.
I mean I didn’t think it required explanation, it’s pretty simple straightforward language I used…

Yes by the way, you explained it correctly
 

DisgruntledSoxFan77

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No, he said it's a "significant risk" that Sale is injured or in the midst of a bad season at that point.

And one of the reasons I'm interested in this is that a Mod recently encouraged me to abandon snark and go for substantive posts. My own thought was that given the social tenor of the board that's quite possibly a waste of time.

So I'd like to see if this response really is just an unsupported emotional reflex (of the kind we're seeing way too much of), or if there's some articulable reason for the position.

Have I entirely wasted my time by looking up the data for everyone?
I said significant risk because he’s thrown a whopping 48.1 innings in the past 3 seasons (not counting postseason). Fluky injuries or not, they have been adding up on this particular pitcher since the World Series in 2018. As for the down season I alluded to, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a man who threw 5.2 innings last season might not be as sharp as one might hope
 

simplicio

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You're acknowledging that the injuries have been fluky, but somehow they're still "adding up" to what exactly? Romine posted the numbers showing he's looked fine mechanically in the limited time he's pitched the last two seasons; what are you using to support your position?
 

Ganthem

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I said significant risk because he’s thrown a whopping 48.1 innings in the past 3 seasons (not counting postseason). Fluky injuries or not, they have been adding up on this particular pitcher since the World Series in 2018. As for the down season I alluded to, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a man who threw 5.2 innings last season might not be as sharp as one might hope
Sure. It is also likely that any player might not be as sharp as one hopes. What makes you down on Sale. Or is gut feeling the new market inefficency?
 

dynomite

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If Sale is off to a great start and is pitching well, aren't the chances quite good that the team in general is going to be doing well and trading their ace wouldn't really be a great idea?
I dont think the Sox should trade Sale (more on that in a moment), but I don’t necessarily see why one would preclude the other — plenty of teams have starting pitchers performing well in July despite the team not contending.

Just this year Frankie Montas and Luis Castillo were shipped off at the deadline to contending teams. (Not to mention Syndergaard, Tyler Mahle, Jose Quintana, etc)

I think the larger question is: what’s the plan? Obviously every team/player/situation is different and Montas and Castillo are not Chris Sale (they’re younger, etc). But the A’s and Reds are in the midst of compete tear downs to the studs, with the A’s seemingly intending to force a franchise move.

What are the Sox’s intentions for ‘23/24/25?

Devers would definitely have a higher trade value today.
That seems right, but — at the risk of bringing up Soto again — I legitimately don’t know how much more could the Nationals have realistically gotten for Soto than what they got at the deadline (2 MLB ready top prospects, 2 younger highly drafted prospects, and an MLB bat). Was that considered a lighter than expected return?

I’m not saying the return was good or that the trade made sense — just trying to get a feel for what the baseline was.
 

radsoxfan

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Sale's 2023-2024 outlook is incredibly uncertain, nothing from 0 to 6 WAR/year would be all that shocking (Fangraphs has him pegged at a 3 WAR guy in 2023). I'd probably guess 50th percentile outcome a little less than the Fangraphs projection, but 2-3 WAR sounds about right. He's probably a bit overpaid, but honestly not by that much given the current market. Nothing like the David Price deal at the time of the Mookie trade.

I don't really see the point of trading him as he isn't likely to fetch much in a trade (unless we pay the entire contract I suppose) and his upside is also one of the few possible pathways left to being decent in 2023.

If they trade do him, it's not because of "pitching depth" it's because they want to save money/punt on 2023.
 
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scottyno

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I agree with you on Sox not leaking and that requiring us to focus on the "why" far more than treating what we read as "truth"

On Sale, the risk people are underplaying, in my view, is that he just doesn't return to form. TJ surgery has a high success rate---80-85% by one study, https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/12648769/what-missed-tommy-john-surgery 80-95% by another. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/tommy-john-surgery
He made 9 starts with an era+ of 149 in 2021 after the TJ surgery. While that isn't CHRIS SALE that's still a really good pitcher and if that's as far back to form as he gets it's still perfectly fine.
 

JM3

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That seems right, but — at the risk of bringing up Soto again — I legitimately don’t know how much more could the Nationals have realistically gotten for Soto than what they got at the deadline (2 MLB ready top prospects, 2 younger highly drafted prospects, and an MLB bat). Was that considered a lighter than expected return?

I’m not saying the return was good or that the trade made sense — just trying to get a feel for what the baseline was.
The difference is that Soto had 2 full years of team control beyond the rest of the '22 season. In Devers' case, those extra 2 years wouldn't be there and he would be a free agent in 2 months.

The Padres also got a Josh Bell rental in that deal, too.
 

Jimbodandy

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Sale's 2023-2024 outlook is incredibly uncertain, nothing from 0 to 6 WAR/year would be all that shocking (Fangraphs has him pegged at a 3 WAR guy in 2023). I'd probably guess 50th percentile outcome a little less than the Fangraphs projection, but 2-3 WAR sounds about right. He's probably a bit overpaid, but honestly not by that much given the current market. Nothing like the David Price deal at the time of the Mookie trade.

I don't really see the point of trading him as he isn't likely to fetch much in a trade (unless we pay the entire contract I suppose) and his upside is also one of the few possible pathways left to being decent in 2023.

If they trade do him, it's not because of "pitching depth" it's because they want to save money/punt on 2023.
This. Nobody knows what Chris Sale will do this year. But before someone wants to staple something to him or subsidise, I hope that they have a plan for the 3 wins.
 

jon abbey

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The difference is that Soto had 2 full years of team control beyond the rest of the '22 season. In Devers' case, those extra 2 years wouldn't be there and he would be a free agent in 2 months.

The Padres also got a Josh Bell rental in that deal, too.
Yeah, Machado to the Dodgers is probably the best comparison for a Devers deadline deal, that turned out to be a pile of nothing.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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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.
 
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JM3

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Yeah, Machado to the Dodgers is probably the best comparison for a Devers deadline deal, that turned out to be a pile of nothing.
Dean Kremer actually had an oddly successful 125-inning, 3.23 ERA, 1.8 fWAR season for the Orioles in '22. He seems like a not good pitcher who probably got lucky, though - 3.80 FIP, 4.43 xFIP, and Steamer expects him to regress to 0.8 fWAR this season with a 4.53 ERA. His strikeout rate is 13th percentile.

Other than him, the only other semi-useful looking guy is relief pitcher Zach Pop - but he got drafted Rule V by the Diamondbacks, then traded to the Marlins, then traded to the Blue Jays. He's another pitcher with a perilously low strikeout rate who is projected to regress (0.5 fWAR to 0.0 fWAR).

So yeahhh...bag of balls. Sign him or trade him ASAP.
 

AlNipper49

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I don’t understand ‘teams are calling to inquire about Sale’. Isn’t it a front office job to evaluate all potential options out there?
 

Rovin Romine

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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.
That's a pretty odd methodology - no offense. The point with comparisons is to spot general trends and to see if they might apply. But here we have a known individual. Meaning, we're not just going to compare any left handed starter with similar overall numbers - we're considering Chris Sale and his particular circumstances.

Here, we're talking about two things:

1) Predicting Sale in terms of a 33 year old starter with a particular pitch mix. Meaning, do guys in their 33/34th year tend to lose life on the fastball? Do guys with a pitch mix like Sale end up faring worse in the aging process? etc.

2) Predicting Sale in terms of health for a starter who had TJ surgery at age 30/31. Meaning, do guys who have that surgery tend to project better/same/worse than guys who don't? Was there something particular about Sale's surgery or subsequent injuries that suggests anything to us? Do lifetime workload numbers factor in?

So why some of these guys are on your list, I just don't know.

-Johan Santana blew out his shoulder capsule, had some questionable use moments, and blew out the same shoulder capsule again. So I'm not sure how he'd remotely apply in helping to predict Sale's future performance.

-Cliff Lee never had any arm surgeries that I'm aware of - he threw complete seasons from age 25-34. He also threw a heavy curve. So I'm not sure how relevant he is either? Maybe for general aging, I suppose.
 
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chrisfont9

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I agree with you on Sox not leaking and that requiring us to focus on the "why" far more than treating what we read as "truth"

On Sale, the risk people are underplaying, in my view, is that he just doesn't return to form. TJ surgery has a high success rate---80-85% by one study, https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/12648769/what-missed-tommy-john-surgery 80-95% by another. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/tommy-john-surgery

However, those are not 100% and Sale has some risk factors: scouts have long questioned his delivery/motion; he has had other injuries, and we also have not seem him return to form yet. So I agree with those who say the probability is he returns to being a 1-2 level starter, which is reasonable value for his contract. And part of the reason you'd think about dumping him if you could do so is the Sox may believe he's in the minority of pitchers who will not get it fully back post-TJ and that likely makes him overpaid...and very risky. You can figure in track record, age, conditioning, whatever else is in his scans, etc. as you may---we simply don't have access to detailed enough info on all that to be sure.

So, the idea is not as simple as "he was hurt in past, he'll get hurt again" but rather "the data suggests some pitchers do not fully recover, he has both some risk factors in his delivery and small warning signs in his small sample of post TJ performance, and these together raise risk he does not fully recover". I suspect there are also some folks who believe that his approach is a concern; I don't have enough data to assess that beyond his unhelpful vaccination position, but imagine the Sox are calibrating that whichever way they are based on a lot better data than any of us have.
Well the (admittedly limited) data we do have says his velocity was in line with his prime seasons.
https://www.fangraphs.com/players/chris-sale/10603/stats?position=P

We heard about his pitches popping in the lead up to his being activated too. This would support the idea that he is recovered, so we are left to just worry that he will get hurt again. The worry about his delivery would lead to another UCL injury, which is a thing, but the new UCL should be stronger than the old one was for a while -- ligament replacements are very successful in this simple respect. It's also super important to rebuild surrounding tissues, but I have to think they did that carefully enough. I would say his UCL reinjury risk starts low but rises over time. As to any other injury risk, he's like everyone else and maybe even due for some good luck? We will see.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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No offense taken. As mentioned, I looked up and used BB-Ref's similarity scores for pitchers through their age 33 seasons to Chris Sale and went with the top 10 (well, top 9 and Corey Kluber because we don't have any data points on Strasburg for the ages in question). I tend to assume Bill James (whom BB-Ref credits with the concept) and the guys at BB-Ref are smarter than I am. Hence, using those players with high similarity scores from his baseball reference page.

Not for nothing, but I first looked at Baseball Savant to get similarities, at least based on velocity and movement, but those are Steven Matz and Andrew Heaney, neither of whom have age 34 or 35 seasons to reference yet. In terms of batted ball profiles, it listed Lackey, but beyond that nobody whom we have any real data to use (Shawn Kelley was a relief pitcher, Kenta Maeda doesn't have the seasons to point to yet, Brett Cecil was out of the game at age 32 and generally speaking a relief pitcher and I have no idea whom Edubray Ramos is).

In that, I assume (but don't know) that Baseball Savant was using Sale's 2021 movement and velocity charts as opposed to his full career (https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/chris-sale-519242?stats=statcast-r-pitching-mlb). Both of those present only "really bad" outcomes, at least in terms of career average as Matz' is an fWAR of 1.46 (I didn't count his rookie year of 6 starts not the Covid tournament). Heaney has averaged a 1.04 fWAR (again discounting his 6 games as a rookie and the Covid tournament). Those both seemed too bearish to use, even using statcast data from BBS, so I went with BB-Ref's list.
 
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