Chris Sale "Fired Up" By Team Chairman Calling Him Out

“Chris Sale has to perform at the level we expect him to." Those were the words from Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner this offseason that may be the motivation that Sale needs to finally have his big bounce-back season in Boston. 

Sale responded to Werner's callout thusly:

I just got goosebumps. That kind of fired me up a little bit, honestly. I appreciate that he thinks of me in that light. If anything, that’s an honor. He just gave me a compliment. Not for nothing, he’s right. When you have these big dogs on the team that make a lot of money with these big contracts, you need them to perform. So yeah, I’ll double down on it with them.

Chris Cotillo of MassLive reports that the BoSox' "perennially injured ace" was glad to hear that the chairman called him out. 

“He’s a business guy. And he’s not where he’s at because he didn’t do things the right way,” Sale said. “Calling a spade a spade. He gave me an *ss ton... of money to go do a job that I just simply have not done. And possibly — you can’t go back in time and change anything — If I had been healthy and been myself through the years that I’ve missed, would we have gotten farther? Would we have been better? I don’t have a crystal ball.”

Still owed $55M over the next two seasons, the Red Sox's big $145M contract extension granted Sale in 2019 hasn't quite worked out so well. Due to a wide assortment of injuries, Sale has pitched just 11 times since the extension kicked in in 2020. That's $8.2M per start thus far, and at just five wins, $18M per victory. Not quite what the Red Sox had in mind. 

Sale missed almost the entire 2022 season with a rib stress fracture, a broken finger; and then a broken wrist from riding his bike. He missed much of 2021 recovering from Tommy John surgery that also wiped out his 2020. 

Finally, in summing up the amount of work he's done to come back from all those injuries, Sale said, “I didn’t put in all this work to suck,” Sale said.

Maybe 2023 will finally be his bounce-back season

Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports