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Chris Sale agrees to five-year, $145 million extension with Red Sox, per report

Sale becomes the latest star to avoid free agency and re-up with his current team.

World Series - Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Five Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Chris Sale has agreed to a long-term contract extension with the Red Sox, as The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported on Friday morning and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal later confirmed. The deal will cover the 2020-24 seasons and pay Sale a total of $145 million — a $29 million average annual value. Rosenthal reports that the contract also contains an opt-out after 2022:

The Red Sox had openly expressed a desire this spring to extend the 29-year-old lefty, who has been an All-Star and received AL Cy Young votes for each of the last seven years, along with MVP votes in each of the last four. However, with Sale being very arguably the most dominant starting pitcher in the American League, with a low-stress delivery that could set him up to succeed well into his 30s, it wouldn’t have been a surprise in any way to see him test free agency.

Sale is coming off a 2018 campaign in which he posted a 2.11 ERA with a 0.86 WHIP, 237 strikeouts, and just 34 walks over 27 starts (158 innings). He was somewhat inconsistent during the postseason but entered as a reliever in Game 5 and recorded the final out of the World Series.

For what it’s worth, there could be some durability concerns for Sale right now, perhaps incentivizing him to take this deal with Boston. He spent two stints on the disabled list after the All-Star break due to left shoulder inflammation, and he tailed off rather substantially in September and the playoffs. But if he’s healthy, he’ll certainly be one of the most valuable starting pitchers in baseball, and keeping him in the fold is essential as the Red Sox try to get everything they can out of their current core.