Sale inked a deal worth $32.5 million over five years, which is an absolute steal for the White Sox. There is no question Chicago came out ahead in this agreement because the left-hander could have made way more money down the road considering how well he has pitched in his short career. Obviously, if he continues to throw the baseball the way he has been, then there will be plenty of time for the 23-year-old to sign a much bigger contract in the future.
The Lakeland, Fla. native posted a 17-8 record with a 3.05 earned run average, 1.14 WHIP and 192 strikeouts in 30 appearances (29 starts) last season. Last year was the first time Sale had ever started a game in the big leagues and clearly it was a success after the bold move by the White Sox’s front office. He was by far the best pitcher in the starting rotation and was a huge reason why Chicago was in the mix for the American League Central division down the stretch in 2012.
Sale pitched out of the bullpen in his first two seasons in the majors, going 4-3 with a 2.36 ERA, 111 strikeouts, 12 saves and 18 holds. Even though he was a huge asset as a relief pitcher, he has certainly proven himself to be useful in the starting rotation.
The White Sox have yet to announce their Opening Day starter for the 2013 season, but many people in the clubhouse and involved with the team believe Sale should be their man.
“Chris is the best pitcher on the team,” starter Jake Peavy told ESPN.com. “Your best guy goes Opening Day.”
Considering that starting pitchers have been making headlines in recent years for breaking contract records by earning well over $100 million, it is comforting to know Sale is content with what he has been offered. Obviously, the money is great, but the deal means so much more than that for him. He will become one of the faces of the franchise for years to come with fans flocking to the ballpark wearing his jersey to see him play. This is a great opportunity for a young man who is on the cusp of becoming a very talented player.