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Red Sox, Chris Sale agree to five-year, $145 million contract extension

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The Red Sox and Chris Sale have agreed to a five-year, $145 million contract extension.

Sale, who turns 30 years old next weekend, was in the final year of his five-year contract extension with the White Sox signed back in March 2013. It eventually became seven years due to club options. The lefty is earning $13.5 million this season, so the $30 million average annual value of the new extension is quite the raise.

Sale was dominant for the Red Sox last season, going 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA and a 237/34 K/BB ratio in 158 innings. He finished fourth in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but likely would have finished higher if he hadn’t gotten injured in mid-August and missed roughly a month of action. Sale was not quite as dominant in the postseason, but he pitched the final inning in Game 5 of the World Series against the Dodgers, wrapping up the championship for the Red Sox.

The last four days have seen eight contract extensions, largely with notable players. Brandon Lowe, Alex Bregman, Ryan Pressly, Mike Trout, Eloy Jiménez, Blake Snell, and Paul Goldschmidt have each signed extensions since Tuesday. Other notable extensions since the end of last season include Nolan Arenado, Luis Severino, and Aaron Nola. This is why you go after the Bryce Harpers and Manny Machados in free agency when you can because the game’s best players won’t be reaching free agency with nearly as much volume as they used to — they’re all signing extensions.

Clayton Kershaw to make Opening Day start for Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.

The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.

Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.