The Chicago White Sox have made quick work of negotiating a contract extension with left-hander Chris Sale. Just a day removed from the initial rumors that discussions were even taking place, the White Sox have locked up the youngster on a five-year, $32.5 million deal with club options for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, the team has announced:
Under terms of the contract, Sale, who turns 24 on March 30, will receive $850,000 in 2013, $3.5 million in 2014, $6.0 million in 2015, $9.15 million in 2016 and $12 million in 2017.
The White Sox hold options for 2018 at $12.5 million and for 2019 at $13.5 million. If either option is declined, Sale will receive a $1.0-million buyout.
All told the extension could pay Sale as much as $58.5 million over the next seven seasons. The extension obviously voids the $600,000 salary for 2013 that Sale and the Sox agreed to earlier this winter.
The soon-to-be 24-year-old is entering his final year as a pre-arbitration player, so -- assuming that Chicago will exercise both club options -- Sale will remain on the South Side through what would have been his first three seasons of free-agent eligibility. Depending on what happens over the next five to seven years, Sale may enter the free-agent market at either age 28, 29, or 30.
After two strong seasons in the Chicago bullpen, Sale made the worrisome transition (see: Neftali Feliz, Daniel Bard) to full-time starter last season and thrived in the role. The southpaw posted a 3.05 ERA and exactly 9.0 K/9 rate in 192 innings over 29 starts, earning his first All-Star bid in the process.
Sale had never thrown more than 71 innings in any one season prior to 2012, which may be a reason his numbers declined some as the season progressed. The left-hander was not as lights-out after the All-Star break, putting up a 4.03 ERA in his final 14 starts (NB: he was not helped any by a .331 BABIP-against in that span) .