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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.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.