Chris Sale agrees to $32.5 million contract with White Sox

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Chris Sale and the White Sox have agreed to a $32.5 million contract, the team announced.

Sale was already signed for $600,000 this season, but the deal will rip that up and give him a new $850,000 salary. And then he’ll get $3.5 million in 2014, $6 million in 2015, $9.15 million in 2016, and $12 million in 2017. Chicago also now has a 2018 option for $12.5 million and a 2019 option for $13.5 million.

Sale would have been arbitration eligible for the first time next season, so this deal buys out all three seasons of arbitration eligibility and his first season of free agency while giving the White Sox options on his second and third seasons of free agency. For a total of $32.5 million that’s a very worthwhile commitment for the White Sox and guaranteeing yourself $32.5 million is never a bad thing for a 24-year-old pitcher.

After thriving as a reliever initially Sale shifted to the rotation last season and threw 192 innings with a 3.05 ERA and 192/51 K/BB ratio. He ranked among the AL’s top five in wins, ERA, WHIP, opponents’ batting average, and strikeout rate at age 23, establishing himself as one of the best young starters in baseball.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.