By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Once upon a time, I was an actual reporter. Now I just ask the questions and hope someone else gets the answer:
What, exactly, is the status of Chris Sale?
Seriously though. Sale last pitched for the Red Sox on Aug. 13. Shortly thereafter, the Red Sox told us Sale had an elbow injury and was likely done for the year. He then went to see specialist James Andrews, who prescribed rest and rehab. Sale told everyone (somewhat unconvincingly) that there was no tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his $145- million arm. The Red Sox relayed that Sale would be reevaluated in six weeks.
That was three months ago.
So what’s going on here? Is Sale OK and are the Red Sox looking to trade him after foolishly signing him to a five-year, $145-million contract that has yet to even begin? Or is Sale injured and are the Red Sox busy trying to find ways to completely rebuild their starting rotation as a result?
For all of the attention we have placed on J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts heading into this Red Sox offseason, Sale is now the linchpin for everything the Red Sox can or cannot do. Think about it. If he is healthy, the Red Sox almost certainly will look to trade one of their 30-something, multi-million-dollar pitchers before they trade Mookie Betts. (This ultimately means Sale or David Price.) If Sale is injured, he is obviously untradeable and the prospect of moving someone like Price would also be more unlikely because the Sox would effectively lose Price, Sale (injured) and Rick Porcello (free agent) in the same offseason.
So again, here’s the question: what’s the status of Sale? Are the Red Sox telling other teams he is healthy? Are other teams asking for his medicals? Are the Red Sox complying?
And if so, would the Red Sox dare to trade him to a team like the Houston Astros (hint, hint), who might be looking to replace Gerrit Cole?
Somewhere, somebody must know.