Though there have been no discussions so far this offseason, Red Sox ace Chris Sale said Saturday that he’d be open to discussing a long-term extension with the club before Opening Day.
“My phone’s on,” Sale said. “Yeah. If they called, I’d answer.”
Sale, who will earn $13.5 million in 2019, is slated to hit free agency for the first time in his career after the season. The lefty is one of many key Red Sox who will have their contracts expire after 2019, along with Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rick Porcello.
Sale has taken notice of the slow-developing free-agent market over the last two winters. With top free agents like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrel and A.J. Pollock still available with less a month to go until free agency, the offseason calendar has shifted toward teams making big moves later in the offseason rather than being aggressive in November and December.
“You want to see that change,” Sale said. “I think it would better for the game. You look at guys’ track records and what they’ve built up, doing things to put themselves in that position. That’s your big opportunity and I think it would be better for us as players, obviously for owners and for the game of baseball to have that change.”
Sale dealt with shoulder inflammation throughout the second half of the 2018 season but said Saturday that he feels healthy and has not dealt with pain while throwing this winter. The lefty has worked out at the team’s facility in Fort Myers, beginning a throwing program around Thanksgiving and working closely with team trainers to maintain his shoulder.