Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura made the announcement Friday that left hander Chris Sale will move back to the bullpen and be the closer. Righty Dylan Axelrod will move into the rotation. There is also news that Sale has some elbow tenderness in his throwing elbow. After his closed door meeting with Ventura, pitching coach Don Cooper and bench coach Mark Parent, Sale declined to speak to the media as he was very upset with the decision. Don Cooper had this to say after the meeting:
“We’re doing it because we feel it’s best for him, his career and his health. It’s the best way to keep him healthy and strong. It gives us the best opportunity to do that. It’s easier to maintain that and keeping tabs on this in the bullpen than it is as a starter. We already know he’s a good left-handed reliever. That’s been proven over the past 1½ years. Now we’ll be trying to make him one of the best left handed relievers in baseball, not just in the American League.
While I was writing this, I tweeted White Sox beat writer Scott Merkin and asked if this was a permanent move or just for this season. I got a quick reply and this is what he said
@scottmerkin @sager729 It’s temporarily permanent ~
My thinking is that the Sox would rather have a dominant closer over a starting pitcher who would injured this season. This is not a permanent move for past this season in my opinion, Sale just has to get his throwing arm stronger. He has ace type ability and I believe he will still be an ace for this Chicago White Sox team in the next few seasons. But right now, he just needs to get his arm stronger and dominate out of the bullpen.
With Sale in the bullpen, the White Sox quite possibly have the best bullpen in all of baseball. With Addison Reed, Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton taking care of the 7th and 8th innings and Sale closing out games, not many teams will get comeback wins once the Sox get into those 4 guys. Then you have guys like Hector Santiago, Nate Jones, Zach Stewart and Will Ohman that will clean up the ugly starts and big leads. That is a very good bullpen to match with a very talented starting rotation.