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.
The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.
Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.
While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.