By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Surgery or no surgery, Chris Sale is a problem. He is now three years into his career in Boston, and the truth is that the Red Sox have no idea what to do with him.
And so, before anyone suggests it was “good news” yesterday that Sale does not need surgery, let’s make a few things clear. First, Sale does not need surgery now, which hardly guarantees anything going forward. Second, even if Sale avoids surgery in the coming weeks, months or years, the Red Sox currently have a wounded, depreciating asset despite having tried to wrap him in Styrofoam over the last two seasons.
As my father still says … capisce?
The mere fact that Sale is sidelined again is a major story. Surgery or no surgery. The Red Sox basically moved the starting line into May for him this season, and the reality is they probably moved it back further than that. And as soon as Sale started to look like a familiar form of himself this year, his elbow flared up and they have been forced to shut him down.
And have we mentioned that Sale has yet to even begin the five-year, $145-million contract that the Red Sox graciously gave him during the spring? Wow. Talk about a colossal blunder. Only the Red Sox would have a 30-year-old, left-handed slinger effectively miss the entire second half of a season due to injury, then reward him with a five-year extension before he ever threw another meaningful pitch.
Just wondering: did Red Sox doctors actually examine Sale during the offseason? For that matter, did Red Sox baseball officials (like Dave Dombrowski) ever actually examine the pitcher’s history? Or did the Sox just make like Sale and, you know, wing it?
We’ll say it again.
What a massive screw-up.
If you’re Dombrowski, you should be shaking in your boots right about now. First, it was roughly two weeks ago that Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe intimated that Dombrowski is toast at the end of the year and will be replaced, perhaps by Eddie Romero. That was before the stringy Sale’s elbow turned to angel hair, which is why it feels like Dombrowski has spent an awful lot of time lately defending his bullpen decisions and emphasizing that Sale hurt his elbow in his most recent start, which can’t help but make you wonder if Dombrowski is at least glancing in the direction of manager Alex Cora.
Whatever the case, the Red Sox are stuck with Sale on multiple levels. First, there’s that contract. Second, the club has spent considerable time and energy over the last two seasons trying to find a program that would keep Sale at his best into August, September and, perhaps, October – and they continue to fail miserably.
It is what it is, folks.
But if you’re still looking for a silver lining somewhere, maybe this is it:
The Red Sox aren’t going to miss Chris Sale this October, because they’re probably not going to get there.