May 24, 2024

The Atlanta Braves have adjusted the contract of their recent addition, Chris Sale, unveiling a new two-year, $38 million agreement with the southpaw pitcher obtained from the Boston Red Sox last weekend. This updated deal, inclusive of an $18 million club option for 2026, replaces his previous contract, which involved a $27.5 million salary for this year, with $10 million deferred until 2039.

Essentially, the seven-time All-Star secures an extra $10.5 million in guaranteed money without the need for deferred payments, in return for committing to at least two seasons with the Braves instead of one. Sale, at 34 years old, is set to earn $16 million in the upcoming season and $22 million in 2025.

As part of the trade that sent infield prospect Vaughn Grissom to Boston, the Red Sox agreed to send $17 million to the Braves in two equal installments this season, covering the pitcher’s entire salary and an additional $1 million for 2024.

Chris Sale Trade Grades: Braves, Red Sox Both Score With Deal for Ace -  Sports Illustrated

However, the Braves are taking a substantial risk with this new deal, considering Sale’s injury-riddled career. Over the past four seasons, he has only made 31 starts, including 20 in the previous year, where he posted a 6-5 record with a 4.30 ERA in 102 2/3 innings.

Sale, acknowledging the challenges of recent years, expresses gratitude for the Braves’ trust and faith in him. He emphasizes that the revised contract allows him to feel more settled, knowing he will be with the Braves for at least two years.

Feeling healthier than in previous years, Sale has undergone a normal offseason routine, including bullpen sessions since November. He is excited about joining a Braves rotation that includes 2023 All-Stars Spencer Strider and Bryce Elder, Max Fried, Charlie Morton, and potential contributors such as AJ Smith-Shawver, Hurston Waldrep, and Reynaldo López.

After a promising performance in the last two months of the previous season, Sale aims to be a crucial part of the Braves’ rotation, hoping to contribute to another division title and, ideally, a World Series championship.

Sale was not anticipating a trade but believes the move to Atlanta is in the best interest of both himself and the Red Sox. Despite the challenges, he waived his right to veto the deal, acknowledging his commitment to Boston over the past five years.

Originally acquired by Boston in 2016, Sale faced numerous injuries, including Tommy John surgery in 2020, limiting his impact on the field. While his recent performance hasn’t matched his earlier success, Sale remains optimistic about the opportunity with the Braves, expressing gratitude for his time with the Red Sox despite the challenges.

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