Red Sox trade Chris Sale to Braves, Van Grissom

The Braves and Red Sox have agreed to a big trade, the left-hander Chris Sale Will go to Atlanta in exchange for infield prospect Van Grissom, ESPN's Jeff Basson reports. The Sox will include $17MM in the deal to help cover Sale's $27.5MM salary for the 2024 season. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. Sale had a full embargo clause that he waived to facilitate this move.

The surprise move ends Sale's tumultuous run in Boston after seven years and six seasons, as Sale missed all of the 2020 campaign. After acquiring Sale as part of a blockbuster deal with the White Sox in December 2016, Sale has played brilliantly in his first two seasons at Fenway. In 2018.

With 2019 being the last year of Sale's previous deal, the Red Sox were aggressive in locking up their ace, signing him to a five-year, $145MM extension covering the 2020-24 seasons with a $20MM club option for the 2025 campaign. . Unfortunately, this extension proved to be a major misstep as Sale began to run into injury problems late in the 2018 campaign. He was sidelined in August 2019 with elbow inflammation and received a PRP injection, but that elbow issue was a precursor to Tommy John surgery, which cost him the entirety of the 2020 season and most of his 2021 campaign.

The injury woes continued over the past two seasons, with Sale sidelined by a variety of ailments, including a rib strain, a broken finger, a broken wrist (from a bicycle accident) and a stress reaction. shoulder. Sale tossed just 48 1/3 total innings in 2021-22, while rebounding somewhat to pitch 102 2/3 frames last season.

Sale's 93.9mph fastball in 2023 was just above his career average, while his strikeout, walk and hard ball rates were all above the league average. While the southpaw may not be able to recapture his past elite form, Sale's performance in 2023 at least suggests he still has a good deal left in him if he can stay on the field as he enters his age-35 season.

This is what the Braves are counting on as a third or fourth starter, behind Sale Maximum fried, Spencer StriderAnd Charlie Morton In the rotation of the team. President of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos is counting on Sale's upside to bolster the pitching staff and Atlanta's collection of young arms (AJ Smith-Shawer, Dylan Dodd, Huascar Ynoa, Darius VinesAnd the best opportunity Hurston Waldrepp) and Swingman Reynaldo Lopez Sale or anyone else in the rotation on the injured list can provide additional depth if time is needed.

In typical Anthopoulos fashion, this particular trade came out of nowhere, even though the Braves were hoping for some pitching help. Atlanta is a strong big Aaron Nola Before he re-signed with the Phillies and free agent and trade targets Tyler Glasnow, Dylan stops, Sonny GrayAnd Seth Lugo They were also linked to the Braves in the rumor mill.

Because Sale's extension has $10MM per season in deferred money on the Red Sox, he will only cost the Braves $500K in actual salary in 2024. A $10.5MM-a-year deal is being traded as a free agent, even without a deferral. A pitcher with his track record would have been priced fairly or a small bargain. It could be argued that the Braves might have been better off finding such a pitcher on the free agent market rather than trading a promising young player like Grissom, but it's also important to note that such a rotation upgrade wouldn't have existed. $10.5MM price tag. Or, handling a jug like cheese, Corbin Burns, Shane BieberOr maybe other trade candidates still available cost Atlanta more than Grissom.

Sales' $20MM club option for 2025 also shouldn't be waived, as the Braves could exercise that option if sales are good. The $20MM figure matches what Morton earned this season, and with Morton flirting with retirement the past few years, Sale could become Atlanta's veteran rotation arm if Morton hangs up his cleats next winter. Sale's $20MM club option is actually a vesting option that will be guaranteed if he finishes the year healthy and finishes in the top 10 in NL Cy Young Award voting.

Antopoulos and team president Terry McGuirk weren't kidding last November when they said they planned to increase the Braves payroll. The Braves' opening day payroll of $203MM through 2023 was already a club record. Catalog resource Now 2024 gives the team just $241MM in payroll. After topping the luxury tax barrier for the first time in 2023, the Braves' estimated $280MM tax bill now rises above the third penalty tier of $277MM, so they'll pay a lot more as second-time payers. Skipping the third tier means Atlanta's top pick in the 2024 draft will now drop 10 spots, and they'll face standard tax penalties related to eligible free agents and the international bonus pool.

That doesn't seem like much of a hurdle for the Atlanta club, which has been swimming in additional revenue since the opening of Truist Park and its adjacent ballpark village project called The Battery. The Braves have used this money to lock up several members of their roster to contract extensions, and the young core has already delivered a 2021 World Series championship and six straight NL East crowns.

With the Red Sox so inconsistent since the 2018 title, the outlook at Fenway Park isn't all that rosy. Due to consecutive last-place finishes in the AL East, Craig Breslow Sime replaced Bloom as the team's chief baseball officer, and Breslow now has his first true blockbuster trade as a front office executive.

Starting pitching has been a known need for the Red Sox all winter, and Boston just signed him Lucas Giolito Yesterday will help to address the cyclic combination. While moving Sale decreases the number of available arms, the trade frees up some money to make other moves, and the Sox may have preferred a more reliable starting pitching option than the injury-plagued Sale. Also, adding six years of team control over a promising player like Grissom is a nice return for the Sox at a cost of $17MM.

Grissum immediately fills Boston's need for second base help. Grissom, an 11th-round pick by Atlanta in the 2019 draft, tore up minor league pitching in his four seasons in the Braves' farm system, quickly putting himself on the radar for a major league call-up. Grissom hit .291/.353/.440 over 156 plate appearances in 2022, though followed with a more modest .659 OPS in just 80 PA last season. Offered the everyday shortstop job, Grissom balked Orlando Arcia On the depth chart, he eventually spent most of the season in Triple-A because the Braves wanted him to continue playing instead of riding the bench.

Grissom has spent most of his minor league career as a shortstop, yet there are some questions about his long-term reliability at the position. Moving to second base or third base on the Braves team was difficult Ozzy Albies And Austin Riley already in place, so Grissom got some reps as an outfielder as a possible candidate to fill the club's left field vacancy. However, acquisition Jared Kelenick That door seemed to be closing from the Marines as well.

Boston has no such position blocks, as the Red Sox install Grissom as their Opening Day second baseman. He matches Breslow's preferred right-handed hitter, and Grissom's glovework could or should work well at the less demanding second base position. Grissom's presence in the fold can now be pushed back Emmanuel Valdez, Pablo ReyesOr Rob Refsnyder Pure backup duty or perhaps trading chips, at the same time Ceddanne Rafaela Looks more likely to be used as an outfielder now (and Rafaela could still be a trade candidate).

Photo courtesy USA TODAY sports pictures

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