The Boston Red Sox have not started talking about a long-term extension with any of their pending free agents — or future free agents for that matter — principal owner John Henry confirmed Wednesday.
“We haven’t had any conversations about any contracts thus far,” Henry told reporters on parade day. “I haven’t talked to Dave [Dombrowski]. We’ve been focused like the players on one thing. I’ve never seen a year in which there was no talk about contracts, there was no talk about media. I was the only one who complained about the media this year. But you never see that. But all that will be discussed.”
That includes Chris Sale, whose 2019 option was picked up Tuesday and is due for a big deal this time next year.
An absolutely dominant force since trading in his White for Red prior to the start of the 2017 season, Sale has gone 29-12 with a 2.56 ERA and 545 strikeouts in 372.1 innings over his two-year run in Boston, and would have absolutely won the Cy Young this past season had shoulder problems not derailed his stretch run. (Even with the injury, Sale still finished the regular season with a 12-4 record, 2.11 ERA, and 237 strikeouts in just 158 innings.)
But the shoulder issues were certainly real, and limited Sale in a major way in the postseason, as the 6-foot-6 lefty lost almost seven miles per hour off his signature fastball (leaving him to essentially abandon the pitch entirely), and finished the 2018 postseason with a 4.11 ERA in just 15.1 innings of work. Whether or not the issues are a sign of things to come remains to be seen, but presents another potential issue that could come with signing Sale to a big money, long-term extension that pays him a top of the market salary like David Price.
Sale will also be 31 by the start of any extension with the Red Sox beyond the 2019 season.
But that doesn’t seem to frighten Henry and Co. just yet.
“We signed David [Price] I think when he was 30,” Henry recalled when asked about potential age concerns with Sale after 2019. “Everyone sooner or later has an age issue. But look at what this team accomplished with older players, younger players. Steve Pearce is 35, I think. Where would we be without Steve?
“It’s something I have to discuss with Dave. Timing and all that stuff. We have the same issue: we’re running out of time with Dave Dombrowski as well. So there are a lot of things to discuss this winter.”