Braves, Chris Sale Agree To Two-Year Deal

The Atlanta Braves and left-hander Chris Sale have reached an agreement on a new contract that will span two years.


Background of the Deal

Chris Sale was originally under contract with the Red Sox but was recently acquired by the Braves in a trade. The Red Sox included $17 million to cover the remainder of Sale's contract, making the cost for the Braves significantly lower.

Sale's previous contract with the Red Sox included a deferred payment of $10 million. However, with the new deal, Sale will receive a salary of $16 million in 2024, which is similar to the non-deferred money he would have earned. He will then earn $22 million in 2025, providing him with additional security in case of any health issues.

The Braves also have the option to extend the contract for an additional year in 2026, with a salary of $18 million. This shows that the Braves have faith in Sale's abilities and are committed to his success.

Sale's Injury History and Performance

Sale has struggled with injuries over the past few years, with multiple shoulder and elbow issues limiting his playing time. He pitched less than 50 innings between 2020 and 2022, mostly due to Tommy John surgery. However, he was able to pitch 102 2/3 innings last year, showing signs of improvement.

During his last fully healthy season in 2017, Sale was one of the best pitchers in the league with a 2.90 ERA. Last year, his ERA was 4.30, but his strikeout rate and walk rate were both strong.

Signing Sale to a two-year deal at age 35 and 36 is a risk for the Braves, but they have a need for a reliable starting pitcher. With Max Fried and Charlie Morton's uncertain situations, having Sale in the rotation provides stability and potential for future success.

Impact on Competitive Balance Tax and Future Outlook

The Braves had reached the third tax threshold for the competitive balance tax, which comes with penalties such as a lower draft pick and an increased tax rate. By lowering Sale's competitive balance tax hit, the Braves now have more flexibility to make additional moves during the season.

Overall, this new agreement benefits both sides. The Braves gain more luxury tax space and a stronger rotation for the upcoming seasons, while Sale secures future earnings and protection against any ongoing health issues.