Top Bounce-Back Candidate: Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox, as an entire organization, need a big bounce-back season in 2023. But as we continue our look at each team's top bounce-back candidate around baseball, we'll pick one player on the BoSox that stands out.

And stop us if you've heard this one before: This year, Chris Sale will finally rebound with a healthy season in Beantown (okay, you can stop laughing now). 

With only 11 starts in three seasons, it's hard to count on Sale to bounce anywhere but to another stint on the injured list. Yes, he was called a bounce-back candidate in 2020... And again in 2022. But let's just play along for a moment. 

Before his fall from grace (and from his bike, but that's another story), Sale had been an All-Star for seven straight seasons. For six of those seasons, he finished in the Top 5 in Cy Young balloting. In his first two seasons in Boston (2017, 2018), he had a combined 29-12 record, with ERAs of 2.90 and 2.11.

When he did come back from Tommy John surgery late in 2021, he went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA and struck out 11 batters per nine innings. 

All this guy needs to do is just get on the mound

Perhaps it's more wishful thinking for Red Sox fans than anything, but really, just pitching most of the season without any freakish, or dumb injuries, would be considered a big bounce-back, whatever the results may be.

Sale will be 34 during Spring Training, and hasn’t pitched a full season since 2019. 

But perhaps, finally, 2023 can be the year that Sale finally earns some of that $145M contract the Red Sox signed him to before the 2019 season. Thus far, those 11 wins have cost $13M each. So really, anything they get from him will be considered a bounce-back.

Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports