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Chris Sale signed a five-year extension this past winter with a guaranteed $32.5 million. The final dollar amount could end up being as much as $60 million if the White Sox pick up two options at the end of this contract. This is a big contract to offer a player who has had only one year as a starter.
The last time the White Sox made this type of commitment to a young pitcher it did not work out very well as they are still dealing with the five-year, $65 million contract they gave to John Danks back in 2011. Since that contract, he has gone 11-16 with an ERA close to 5.00.
Chris Sale had a great first half last season, going 10-2 with a 2.19 ERA and holding opponents to a batting average of .198. However, after the All-Star break, he was very average with a 4.03 ERA, record of 7-6 and an opponents' batting average of .274.
The big question remaining is this: Was Sale's second half due to him getting tired down the stretch, or did batters figure out how to hit against him? Either way, there will be a lot of pressure on the starting pitcher to live up to expectations that come with a big contract extension.