Chris Sale Says He Wants to Retire with Red Sox: 'I Have Nowhere Else to Go'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2021

Boston Red Sox's Chris Sale pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Boston, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale said Friday he's hopeful of playing the remainder of his MLB career with the organization.

Sale was asked whether he'd want to retire with the Red Sox on WEEI's The Greg Hill Show and provided an affirmative answer:

"One hundred percent. I have nowhere else to go. I have nowhere else to be. This place is top-notch. They're unbelievable. I like it here. I love it here. I feel comfortable here. They take care of me. They take care of my family. And we win. Check the books, man. Check the books. We win. That's what we're here to do and that's what we do a lot of. I would like to get back to that."

Sale won't be available for the start of the 2021 season as he completes his recovery from Tommy John surgery last March. It's believed he could be back by the summer.

Boston will likely play it safe with the 31-year-old left-hander, who missed the entire coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign. He's under contract through 2024 as part of a five-year, $145 million deal, which includes a player option after 2022 and a vesting option for 2025.

Sale posted a lackluster 4.40 ERA across 25 starts in 2019, but his underlying numbers remained strong with a 1.09 WHIP, which was right in line with his terrific 1.03 career mark, and an eye-popping 218 strikeouts in 147.1 innings.

The seven-time All-Star was one of the best pitchers in baseball with a 2.89 ERA across his first nine MLB seasons, seven with the Chicago White Sox and two with the Red Sox.

He ranks seventh among active pitchers in career WAR (45.4) and he's the youngest one inside the top 10, according to Baseball Reference.

Sale explained on The Greg Hill Show he's not sure how long he'll continue to pitch, but he admitted it would be difficult to match former New England Patriots and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who's still going strong in his mid-40s.

"To do what Tom Brady does at that age, and what he has done, that will be hard to replicate," he said. "It's hard not to be in awe of what he does and be inspired to be that. ... I don't know how many years. ... I don't know if I'm going to be able to get there."

Sale will slot back in as the Red Sox's ace once healthy. In the meantime, the club will operate without a true No. 1 starter, with Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez, Martin Perez and free-agent signing Garrett Richards trying to pick up the slack in the rotation to open the 2021 season.

Boston opens its spring training schedule Sunday against the Minnesota Twins, followed by Opening Day on April 1 when it welcomes the Baltimore Orioles to Fenway Park.