Boston Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - JULY 23: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox pitches to the Tampa Bay Rays during the second inning of a baseball game at Tropicana Field on July 23, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson,

Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale is finding the positives in a COVID-19 pandemic that’s put the 2020 MLB season on ice indefinitely and beat everyone else’s morale into the ground.

In an interview with ESPN’s Marly Rivera, Sale, who is going to miss the entire 2020 season (should it happen) due to successful Tommy John surgery in March, touched on his recovery from the first major injury of his 11-year professional career.

And how nobody can name-call him right now.

“On my end of it, I’m not missing any games that everyone else isn’t missing,” the 31-year-old Sale said. “Plus, I’m not getting paid, so no one can call me an overpaid asshole right now.”

I mean, this logic is pretty airtight. The Red Sox bungled the Sale situation pretty hard, and Tommy John always seemed like an inevitability, so why not just get it done in a pandemic-paused season and on the heels of an offseason trade that saw Mookie Betts and David Price dealt to Los Angeles in a cash-clearing move? Like he said, the 6-foot-6 Sale is just missing games everybody else is missing, so how could you possibly care?

Sale’s take on his pay is pretty interesting, too, as some straight-up terrible timing made it so that Sale missed the first year of his five-year, $145 million extension signed last year. Or just when Sale was scheduled to move out of the ‘underpaid’ ranks.

“All these people were talking about how I was so underpaid and undervalued, that I wasn’t making enough money for the production that I was doing. Then overnight, I’m an overpaid player,” Sale, who spent the first seven years of his career with the White Sox, offered. “If the flag is that easily blown, you can’t really pay attention to it.”

And since his rescue from the White Sox in Dec. 2016, Sale’s Boston run has been the ultimate mixed bag.

The flame-throwing lefty has compiled a 35-23 record, 3.08 ERA, and 763 strikeouts in 519.2 innings of work with Boston, and also finished in the top four in Cy Young voting in his first two seasons with Boston. But Sale struggled with some shoulder issues in 2018 on the way to a World Series title, and never found his game in a nightmare, injury-shortened 2019 season, which came with just six victories and a career-worst 4.40 ERA before the team shut him down.

“2019 was an absolute disaster,” Sale admitted.

But Sale, who is beginning to do some ‘soft-tissue work’ with his post-surgery recover, is ready to get back to who he was.

“From a personal standpoint, I’m done trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. It’s like ‘OK, this is the end of all the crap that you’ve gone through for a couple years,'” Sale told Rivera. “It’s like a new beginning for me. I wouldn’t be able to play baseball productively without this surgery. I’m a baseball player, what can be better than getting a brand-new elbow for my birthday?”

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.