Chris Sale, Braves agree to 2-year, $38M extension, sources say


Left-hander Chris Sale and the Atlanta Braves have agreed to a two-year, $38 million contract extension, sources told ESPN on Thursday, restructuring his deal in the wake of his trade from the Boston Red Sox last week.

Sale’s previous contract ran through 2024 and guaranteed him $27.5 million — though $10 million of it was deferred, bringing the present value down to around $20-21 million — with a $20 million club option for 2025. The new deal bumps Sale’s present-day guarantee significantly, giving him $16 million in 2024 and $22 million in 2025, while the Braves add a buyout-free $18 million club option for 2026.

The Braves’ commitment to Sale, who will turn 35 just after Opening Day, was already clear when they traded Vaughn Grissom, their top hitting prospect, to the Red Sox for Sale and $17 million. While the cash will pay this year’s salary, Atlanta’s commitment to Sale in 2025 and procurement of the 2026 option gives the team certainty as its pitching rotation is almost sure to change.

Left-hander Max Fried, the team’s most tenured starter, will hit free agency after 2024 and could get a deal in excess of $200 million, a number unlikely to fit in the Braves’ budget. Right-hander Charlie Morton, 40, could retire.

With Spencer Strider the only rotation staple locked up past this season, the Braves turned to Sale, hoping he will help lead the next generation of Atlanta pitchers that includes AJ Smith-Shawver, Hurston Waldrep and Bryce Elder.

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