FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — After winning a World Series with the Red Sox, Chris Sale preferred to stay in Boston rather than find out what he would be worth as a free agent after this season.
“When half the league isn’t trying to win anything, and we have a team that’s trying to win every year? That says a lot. As players, you can’t not respect it,” Sale said Saturday after Boston announced a deal that guarantees an additional $145 million from 2020 to 2024.
Sale, who turns 30 on March 30, is guaranteed $15 million this year under the second option year of the contract he signed with the Chicago White Sox before the 2013 season. The deal wound up being worth $59 million over seven years plus award bonuses.
The new contract raises his guarantee to $160 million over the next six seasons.
He gets $30 million salaries annually from 2020-22 and $27.5 million a year in 2023 and 2024. His salary can escalate by up to $2 million per season from 2021-24 based on finish in Cy Young Award voting.
His new deal also includes a $20 million option for 2025 that could become guaranteed based on a top 10 finish in the 2024 Cy Young vote, and the price could escalate up to $25 million based on Cy Young finish in 2023 and ’24.
Sale is 103-62 with a 2.89 ERA and 1,789 strikeouts in 1,482 1/3 innings in nine years. He has been an All-Star for seven straight seasons and started the last two All-Star Games.
“To be able to keep Chris in the organization for years to come is exciting for us,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said.
Since Sale was acquired from Chicago in December 2016, he is 29-12 with a 2.56 ERA, holding opponents to a .196 batting average and averaging 13.17 strikeouts per nine innings. He was 1-0 in four starts and four relief appearances in last year’s postseason, striking out the side against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the World Series to complete Boston’s fourth title in 15 seasons.
“We have a track record of winning,” Sale said. “And even when we don’t, we’re still lined up to win. Since the turn of the century, we have the most World Series wins.”
Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, the reigning AL MVP, said Sale’s deal would not affect his decision whether to seek a long-term contract with Boston or remain on track to become a free agent after the 2020 season. Betts has a $20 million salary this year and is eligible for arbitration again next winter.
“I know they got to do what they can to help the team win, and I’m going to do what I can to help the team win,” he said. “I don’t even think about that a whole lot right now. I’m just focused kind of on what’s going on and getting through spring training and getting ready.”
By structuring the new agreement as a separate contract that starts in 2020, the Red Sox kept Sale’s luxury tax figure for this year at $15 million.
Boston’s payroll for purposes of the tax already is about $240 million, nearing the $246 million threshold for the second surtax. Boston will pay at a 30 percent rate on the amount above $206 million up to $226 million, at a 42 percent rate on the amount above $226 million up to $246 million and at a 75 percent rate above that. If the Red Sox exceed $246 million, their top draft pick in 2020 would be dropped 10 slots, as it was this year.
Boston paid an $11.95 million tax for its 2018 tax payroll of $239 million.
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