Sale's Return - When and in What Capacity?

Apisith

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This is really exciting. Oh man, if we get anything even close to prime Sale, we are going to kick some ass.
 

nattysez

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Two more rehab starts on regular rest would line him up to pitch during the first week of August. And then it all depends on what opponents they want him to face and how much rest they want him to have between starts.

Here's the schedule:
@DET
@DET
@DET
@TOR
@TOR (DH)
@TOR
OFF
TB
TB
TB
BAL
BAL
BAL
OFF
@MFY (DH)
@MFY
OFF
TEX
TEX
TEX

If you have him pitch in the last game of the series at Detroit, which would be a low-stress game against a weak opponent, you can then give him 5 days' rest between starts and have him face Tampa at home and the MFY. Or you can give him more rest and have him face DET, BAL, and TEX rather than throwing him into the thick of the playoff race right off the bat.

If he needs three more rehab starts, that would line him up to start in the Tampa series and then potentially against the MFY.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Was at the game, sitting in the bleachers right behind home plate, so had a great view.

Sale looked GREAT, not just his stuff, but his body language, general demeanor, etc. From his warm-ups in the outfield to his final walk off the mound and tip of the cap to the crowd, he looked totally relaxed and like he was just having an awesome time. Tons of fist bumps with the Sea Dogs players, joking around with the umps when they had to check his cap and glove, etc.

For his stuff, it was basically unhittable for those guys. One dude swung at a slider that literally bounced in the opposite batter's box. Tons of half swings, weird lunges, and a ton of baffled takes at a slider that was moving like a whiffle ball. He gave up one decent opposite field fly ball that almost made the track, gave up a bouncer over the mound that was probably a hit but they gave the second baseman an error when he bobbled it, and then a few ground balls to the infield.

His velocity did seem to diminish over the outing, though. Park gun showed 97 a couple times in the first, but didn't break 95 after that. Also, he seemed to throw an 88 mph change up a few times that moved sort of like a slider and he missed with in general.

It really seemed like he was working on the slider the most; I'd guess as much as 60 percent offspeed overall.

There were a ton of high fives and what not after the third, so I thought that was going to be it, but then he came out for the fourth and got a couple of more outs until he finished an at-bat with 49 pitches and he was done.

Really fun night at the park. Can't remember the place that electric, even seeing Ortiz, EdRod, and Pedroia all with rehab games there. Only Papi was even close, but he totally wasn't taking it seriously and joked around with the crowd. Sale was mowing pricks down.
 

cornwalls@6

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Was at the game, sitting in the bleachers right behind home plate, so had a great view.

Sale looked GREAT, not just his stuff, but his body language, general demeanor, etc. From his warm-ups in the outfield to his final walk off the mound and tip of the cap to the crowd, he looked totally relaxed and like he was just having an awesome time. Tons of fist bumps with the Sea Dogs players, joking around with the umps when they had to check his cap and glove, etc.

For his stuff, it was basically unhittable for those guys. One dude swung at a slider that literally bounced in the opposite batter's box. Tons of half swings, weird lunges, and a ton of baffled takes at a slider that was moving like a whiffle ball. He gave up one decent opposite field fly ball that almost made the track, gave up a bouncer over the mound that was probably a hit but they gave the second baseman an error when he bobbled it, and then a few ground balls to the infield.

His velocity did seem to diminish over the outing, though. Park gun showed 97 a couple times in the first, but didn't break 95 after that. Also, he seemed to throw an 88 mph change up a few times that moved sort of like a slider and he missed with in general.

It really seemed like he was working on the slider the most; I'd guess as much as 60 percent offspeed overall.

There were a ton of high fives and what not after the third, so I thought that was going to be it, but then he came out for the fourth and got a couple of more outs until he finished an at-bat with 49 pitches and he was done.

Really fun night at the park. Can't remember the place that electric, even seeing Ortiz, EdRod, and Pedroia all with rehab games there. Only Papi was even close, but he totally wasn't taking it seriously and joked around with the crowd. Sale was mowing pricks down.
Oh man, does this post have me excited. A close to 100%, or even revitalized beyond that, Sale returning for the stretch run, with enough in the tank to carry it into October, might just make us the odds on favorite in the AL to go to the WS.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Wondering why if he is at 50 pitches right now, Bloom wouldn't move him to Boston to be at least a 50 pitch "opener" his next time through and then build up another 5 pitches per start until he can legitimately be called a "starter".... It's the difference between 50 Richards pitches and 50 Chris fucking Sale pitches.....
 

deythur

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Wondering why if he is at 50 pitches right now, Bloom wouldn't move him to Boston to be at least a 50 pitch "opener" his next time through and then build up another 5 pitches per start until he can legitimately be called a "starter".... It's the difference between 50 Richards pitches and 50 Chris fucking Sale pitches.....
I would think that part of it is as MDLTG stated above he's working on certain pitches the way he would in spring training. We all want him here now but we are still one of the best teams in baseball even with Richards 50 pitches.
 

koufax32

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Wondering why if he is at 50 pitches right now, Bloom wouldn't move him to Boston to be at least a 50 pitch "opener" his next time through and then build up another 5 pitches per start until he can legitimately be called a "starter".... It's the difference between 50 Richards pitches and 50 Chris fucking Sale pitches.....
Spring training mode = “dead arm” to push through at some point, right? Better for that to happen in a lower stakes mL environment than MLB.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Spring training mode = “dead arm” to push through at some point, right? Better for that to happen in a lower stakes mL environment than MLB.

I would think that part of it is as MDLTG stated above he's working on certain pitches the way he would in spring training. We all want him here now but we are still one of the best teams in baseball even with Richards 50 pitches.

Both of these make sense. Are both pretty obvious too.... thanks
 

sean1562

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So what do we think of the contract if Sale comes back and helps lead us deep into the postseason? I always thought it was an alright deal for a pitcher of Sale's caliber. He was clearly hurt in 2019 and pitching through it. I can't wait to see how much he picks up this roster this season and through 2025. This rotation is just so much different with Sale at the top of it. Now think what he can do to mentor the future 2/3 of our rotation, Houck and Whitlock! 3 aces!
 

tims4wins

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So what do we think of the contract if Sale comes back and helps lead us deep into the postseason? I always thought it was an alright deal for a pitcher of Sale's caliber. He was clearly hurt in 2019 and pitching through it. I can't wait to see how much he picks up this roster this season and through 2025. This rotation is just so much different with Sale at the top of it. Now think what he can do to mentor the future 2/3 of our rotation, Houck and Whitlock! 3 aces!
It will never not have been an awful contract IMO. At best he gives them 3.25 years out of a 5 year contract that cost the team $145M. That is > $44M / year. If he is prime Sale for the next 3.25 years then that's not ridiculously bad value. But this season / postseason have little bearing on whether or not it was a good contract. The next 3 years mean everything.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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It will never not have been an awful contract IMO. At best he gives them 3.25 years out of a 5 year contract that cost the team $145M. That is > $44M / year. If he is prime Sale for the next 3.25 years then that's not ridiculously bad value. But this season / postseason have little bearing on whether or not it was a good contract. The next 3 years mean everything.
Asking in all seriousness how that is? If he can return and be the equivalent of a Trade Deadline ace added to the rotation and pitch lights out and lead the team to a World Series... that happens on the current contract. Why would have little bearing?
 

tims4wins

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Asking in all seriousness how that is? If he can return and be the equivalent of a Trade Deadline ace added to the rotation and pitch lights out and lead the team to a World Series... that happens on the current contract. Why would have little bearing?
Because 1/4 of a season, even if he leads the team to a World Series, isn't worth $145M.

If Mookie's hip becomes a long term deal and he is never the same player again, was his contract with the Dodgers worth it?
 

Max Power

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It will never not have been an awful contract IMO. At best he gives them 3.25 years out of a 5 year contract that cost the team $145M. That is > $44M / year. If he is prime Sale for the next 3.25 years then that's not ridiculously bad value. But this season / postseason have little bearing on whether or not it was a good contract. The next 3 years mean everything.
That's not true. Because of the 60 game season last year, the team is paying $127m for 3.25 years. That's a little more than Trevor Bauer money (and good luck with that comparison), which isn't terrible. Especially if this year's .25 season is heavily weighted toward contributing in the playoffs.
 

PrometheusWakefield

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Because 1/4 of a season, even if he leads the team to a World Series, isn't worth $145M.

If Mookie's hip becomes a long term deal and he is never the same player again, was his contract with the Dodgers worth it?
I suspect all things considered a World Series championship is worth more than $145M for a franchise. If what we care about is John Henry's bottom line, and to be clear none of us care about that, I suspect that the incremental value of a win is much higher if it's part of winning a championship, or at least going deep into the playoffs, than if it's just the difference between 87 and 88 wins in the regular season.

You're confusing the assumptions of the way these things get calculated with the underlying reality of what we care about and why.
 

tims4wins

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That's not true. Because of the 60 game season last year, the team is paying $127m for 3.25 years. That's a little more than Trevor Bauer money (and good luck with that comparison), which isn't terrible. Especially if this year's .25 season is heavily weighted toward contributing in the playoffs.
Sorry, you lost me - are you saying Sale only made $12M last year instead of $30M? Even if that's the case, my point remains the same - if Sale is SALE for the next 3.25 years, the contract becomes palatable. If he is less than that, it's an awful contract, title or no title.
 

tims4wins

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I suspect all things considered a World Series championship is worth more than $145M for a franchise. If what we care about is John Henry's bottom line, and to be clear none of us care about that, I suspect that the incremental value of a win is much higher if it's part of winning a championship, or at least going deep into the playoffs, than if it's just the difference between 87 and 88 wins in the regular season.

You're confusing the assumptions of the way these things get calculated with the underlying reality of what we care about and why.
That's fair. But if the Sox had not inked the extension early, Sale could still have been contributing to this team at a far lower price than $145M. It was horrifically stupid in terms of the timing. That is fact and will never change. Now the question becomes whether he can salvage the contract.
 

Max Power

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Sorry, you lost me - are you saying Sale only made $12M last year instead of $30M? Even if that's the case, my point remains the same - if Sale is SALE for the next 3.25 years, the contract becomes palatable. If he is less than that, it's an awful contract, title or no title.
He made $11m instead of $29m for the 60 game schedule. If he comes back in the next few weeks and plays the last 60 games of this season, they've basically just had one year of the contract that they got nothing out of. That seems to be the average for a free agent contract for a pitcher in their 30s.
 

tims4wins

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He made $11m instead of $29m for the 60 game schedule. If he comes back in the next few weeks and plays the last 60 games of this season, they've basically just had one year of the contract that they got nothing out of. That seems to be the average for a free agent contract for a pitcher in their 30s.
Agreed - it just hurts that they have lost the first 1.75 years of the contract when they were only bidding against themselves at the point of the extension. I really, really hope that he comes back and is his old self and we don't have to debate this.
 

Max Power

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I agree that signing a clearly injured pitcher to an extension a year before you had to was a poor idea. It's just that with the quick and pointless 60 game season last year and the unexpected winning this year (which Sale may meaningfully contribute to), there's a much better chance that the contract turns out okay.
 

ponch73

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But if the Sox had not inked the extension early, Sale could still have been contributing to this team at a far lower price than $145M. It was horrifically stupid in terms of the timing. That is fact and will never change.
Agreed - it just hurts that they have lost the first 1.75 years of the contract when they were only bidding against themselves at the point of the extension.
To add further credence to the argument, Dombrowski’s unceremonious departure from the Red Sox speaks volumes about the caliber of the decision to extend a clearly-impaired Sale before the 2019 season for 5 years at a price of $145M.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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It’s amazing to me that a person of his wealth would eat McDonald’s/TB, and that’s even before accounting for his profession.
It's not like wealth dictates what you eat, but he wasn't exactly born into his wealth either. Some habits are hard to break. If he was eating McDonalds and Taco Bell in high school and college and the minors, and he still became an All Star MLB pitcher (not to mention probably didn't gain an ounce of fat), what motivation would he have to stop?
 

Ale Xander

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It's not like wealth dictates what you eat, but he wasn't exactly born into his wealth either. Some habits are hard to break. If he was eating McDonalds and Taco Bell in high school and college and the minors, and he still became an All Star MLB pitcher (not to mention probably didn't gain an ounce of fat), what motivation would he have to stop?
longevity of life
 

Ale Xander

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And that is something that a lot of 20-somethings who haven't faced a whole lot of adversity and resistance in their life give a lot of thought to?
He’s in his 30’s now and had some time recently to think. But your point stands
 

Cesar Crespo

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It's not like wealth dictates what you eat, but he wasn't exactly born into his wealth either. Some habits are hard to break. If he was eating McDonalds and Taco Bell in high school and college and the minors, and he still became an All Star MLB pitcher (not to mention probably didn't gain an ounce of fat), what motivation would he have to stop?
Right. If that's what his diet was before, I worry he will whither away into nothing.
 

DeadlySplitter

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Looks like he'll be ready as soon as next weekend, and by latest in time for the two doubleheaders they now have against division rivals. That's a nice luxury.
 

JimD

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To add further credence to the argument, Dombrowski’s unceremonious departure from the Red Sox speaks volumes about the caliber of the decision to extend a clearly-impaired Sale before the 2019 season for 5 years at a price of $145M.
Speaking as a fan - as unproductive as Sale's extension has been so far, it still doesn't *feel* like the worst Red Sox contract of the past decade and change. The Crawford, Lackey, Sandoval and Ramirez contracts all felt so much worse at the time they were announced and predictably lived down to expectations (even accounting for Lackey's 2013 redemption).
 

joe dokes

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When.....a couple of weeks.
Capacity.....apparently as a vessel into which gripes about the past can be deposited and rehashed.
 

Rovin Romine

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Capacity.....apparently as a vessel into which gripes about the past can be deposited and rehashed.
But no longer McDonald's rehashedbrowns.

Sale's 32 and the major health reservation (TJ) has been hashed out, thankfully in a joke abbreviated year. If he comes back strong for the stretch and post-season, as seems quite possible, this year will be worth every penny. Then we have him for all of 2022.

He can opt out at that point, but if he does not, we have him for 23 and 24 at a slightly reduced salary of $27m. Also for 2025 at $20m (his age 36 season) but only if he finishes in the top 10 for Cy voting in 24.

It's an interesting contract.
 
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Bob Montgomerys Helmet Hat

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But no longer McDonald's rehashedbrowns.

Sale's 33 and the major health reservation (TJ) has been hashed out, thankfully in a joke abbreviated year. If he comes back strong for the stretch and post-season, as seems quite possible, this year will be worth every penny. Then we have him for all of 2022.

He can opt out at that point, but if he does not, we have him for 23 and 24 at a slightly reduced salary of $27m. Also for 2025 at $20m (his age 36 season) but only if he finishes in the top 10 for Cy voting in 24.

It's an interesting contract.
You aged him one year. He is 32.
 

snowmanny

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I am quite sure we can't judge this contract until it is complete. My recollection is that the clear majority of SoSH thought that on balance the Beckett trade was a good one because of the 2007 title. I was a little skeptical of that perspective but did enjoy 2007.

Anyway, per B-Ref, between 2006 and 2011 the Marlins enjoyed Hanley to the tune of 26.4 WAR and a cost of $24.3M. And Anibal for 12.5 WAR for $6.4M. So 38.9 WAR for around $31 Million.

The Sox ended paying Beckett $51.4 Million from 2006-2011 and got 21.8 WAR, and from 2006-2010 they paid Lowell 55.5M for 10.6 WAR. So 32.4 WAR for around $107 Million. Obviously the Lowell extension was a problem.

The Sox also, from 2006-2011, filled the SS hole opened up by the Hanley trade by paying Gonzalez, Lugo, Scutaro a combined $40.5 Million for 5.9 WAR.

Anyway, we might all look differently at the Sale contract depending on the outcome of a postseason or two.
 

lexrageorge

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So, yes, the Marlins beat out the Red Sox for the WAR/dollar Trophy. Glad it worked out for them.

More seriously, I agree with the premise that a couple of solid postseasons can go a long way in justifying the value of a large contract.
 

trekfan55

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I am quite sure we can't judge this contract until it is complete. My recollection is that the clear majority of SoSH thought that on balance the Beckett trade was a good one because of the 2007 title. I was a little skeptical of that perspective but did enjoy 2007.

Anyway, per B-Ref, between 2006 and 2011 the Marlins enjoyed Hanley to the tune of 26.4 WAR and a cost of $24.3M. And Anibal for 12.5 WAR for $6.4M. So 38.9 WAR for around $31 Million.

The Sox ended paying Beckett $51.4 Million from 2006-2011 and got 21.8 WAR, and from 2006-2010 they paid Lowell 55.5M for 10.6 WAR. So 32.4 WAR for around $107 Million. Obviously the Lowell extension was a problem.

The Sox also, from 2006-2011, filled the SS hole opened up by the Hanley trade by paying Gonzalez, Lugo, Scutaro a combined $40.5 Million for 5.9 WAR.

Anyway, we might all look differently at the Sale contract depending on the outcome of a postseason or two.
The sad thing about the Lowell extension is that the Sox probably only offered it hecause he was the MVP of thevWorkd Series and the Phillies overbid them, yet he signed with Boston.

Also, contract extensions are a bit tricky. The Sox extended Beckett because Miami could not (sort of like a trade and sign) but took on Lowell’s contract. The extension signed after 2007 should not count in the yrade balance of dollars/WAR.

The big thing about this trade is it was made while Theo was away, and I’m not sure he pulls the trigger on it,
 

scottyno

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It will never not have been an awful contract IMO. At best he gives them 3.25 years out of a 5 year contract that cost the team $145M. That is > $44M / year. If he is prime Sale for the next 3.25 years then that's not ridiculously bad value. But this season / postseason have little bearing on whether or not it was a good contract. The next 3 years mean everything.
In 2016-18 he was worth 42 61 and 50 mill of value a year in the regular season per fangraphs, if he gives them 3+ years of prime sale then it ends up being a very good contract. The whole reason he signed for 145m when comparable pitchers were signing for 225-300m was the injury
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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So, yes, the Marlins beat out the Red Sox for the WAR/dollar Trophy. Glad it worked out for them.

More seriously, I agree with the premise that a couple of solid postseasons can go a long way in justifying the value of a large contract.
There's a lot of "what if's" that it's obviously impossible to know... but what if the Sox just took the money and paid a free agent pitcher, kept Hanley and Sanchez? Would 2007 have worked out? I never loved Beckett or Lowell but they did come through for a World Series so I'm happy they were here... In an alternative universe (of which actually does exist IMO, since it is infinite, every possible outcome of every moment exists) there is a Red Sox team that didn't win 2007 but won 2008 with Hanley and Sanchez in starring roles.
 

grimshaw

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Here is the somewhat comprehensive list of good to great pitchers who came back at Chris Sale's age or older after Tommy John.

-John Lackey came back at age 34 and was as good and as surly as he had been for 4 more seasons.

-Charlie Morton also came back at age 34 and was waaay better.

-Frank Viola was toast, though he was 35 and well into his decline.

-Tom Gordon was better than ever at age 33.

-John Smoltz was still freakishly good coming back at age 34 and dominant as a reliever and then late career starter.

-Pat Hentgen was never the same though he stretches "good" at the time as a qualification

-Carl Pavano came back at 32 and was solid (better even) for 3 more seasons.

-Chris Carpenter was fantastic the season he came back at age 34 and effective the next two seasons.

-Tim Hudson got it done but became ever craftier rather than dominant the last 6 seasons of his career

-Johnny Cueto is still around because of his contract but has been mostly awful

-Carl Crawford . . never mind.

Put me down for somewhere between Chris Carpenter and John Smoltz. A floor of John Lackey wouldn't be awful and would be somewhat near the break even mark. The list above is also of guys who were mostly older, and other than a hall of famer, well below Sale's peak.

In terms of the market and his contract I'd consider Yu Darvish as a comparison (who had also previously had TJ)

-He's is in the middle of a 6 year/$129 that will take him through his age 37 season. He already had seasons in which he had missed a third and half of his starts. He is an all-star pitcher having a great year. As good as he has been over his last 31 starts between the COVID season and this one - the best he's done in his career - it's still not as good as Sale was in 2017-18. He was also awful and injured the season he signed. He may not "earn" the contract but he is helping make the Padres relevant, and a legit contender.

I had no issues with the deal. Especially given the Sox' lack of internal options, and luxury tax situation. Large market teams can take on 24 AAV contracts and ought to risk them on all-star players in such a competitive division. That's the advantage they have over the Jays and Rays and what they have to do to keep pace with the Yankees while avoiding a full rebuild.
 
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Jimbodandy

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It is so like this board to celebrate the return of a World Series Hero and potential ace starter with a relitigation of not only his contract but two other guys from fifteen years ago.

Chris Sale is on the way back people, and he still throws gas and unholy breaking stuff.
 

rodderick

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It is so like this board to celebrate the return of a World Series Hero and potential ace starter with a relitigation of not only his contract but two other guys from fifteen years ago.

Chris Sale is on the way back people, and he still throws gas and unholy breaking stuff.
I feel like some people are secretely expecting the wheels to come off these Red Sox at any point because otherwise the adition of a halfway healthy Chris Sale to a contender at this point in the season is as exciting as it gets. He was already instrumental in winning a championship, if he contributes even a little to a run at another one who cares what his contract is?