Chris Sale contract details, grade: Braves double down on former ace

After trading for seven-time All-Star and 2018 World Series Champion Chris Sale from the Boston Red Sox last week, the Atlanta Braves doubled down on their acquisition of the former ace with a contract extension.

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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Last week, the Atlanta Braves pulled off a surprising trade to acquire former ace Chris Sale from the Boston Red Sox. The seven-time All-Star and 2018 World Series Champion will now be taking his talents to the National League for the first time in his 13-year career. Not to mention, he will be playing for the Braves under a new contract he recently signed.

Per USA TODAY’s MLB insider, Bob Nightengale, Sale and the Braves agreed on a two-year, $38 million contract extension. Before signing his new contract extension, Sale was set to earn $27 million this upcoming season with a $20 million club option for 2025. Now, he is guaranteed $38 million over the next two seasons while the Braves have an $18 million club option in 2026.

Chris Sale contract details, grade: Braves double down

Essentially, Sale guaranteed himself money combined with adding an extra year to the length of his contract while mitigating the risk involved in signing an injury-plagued 34-year-old starting pitcher who seems to be well past his prime for the Braves. According to ESPN’s MLB insider Jeff Passan, the Braves received $17 million from the Red Sox as part of the trade for Sale, which covers his entire salary for the upcoming season.

Passan went on to highlight that while the Braves went out of their way to acquire Sale, they have put precautionary measures in place to ensure they have a way out of the contract if he cannot regain his All-Star form after yet another down season in 2023. “The Braves clearly believe Sale’s performance last season portends well for his future, even as he enters his age-35 season,” Passan reported.

In 20 starts last season, Sale had a 6-5 record, to go with a 4.30 ERA, while striking out 125 batters. During his stretch of seven straight All-Star appearances from 2012-2018, Sale had three seasons with a sub-3.00 ERA and recorded 200-plus strikeouts for six straight seasons from 2013-2018.

Depending on which version of Sale the Braves acquired and signed to a contract extension, this trade could either be what helps propel them to a World Series title or it could prove to be a risky choice gone wrong. Either way, the Braves are prepared for whatever comes their way.

Braves contract grade: C

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