Red Sox shed chunk of Chris Sale’s contract in blockbuster trade with Braves

The Red Sox acquired highly-regarded infield prospect Vaughn Grissom while also opening up a considerable amount of payroll.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale
Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

Well this came out of left field, huh? After reportedly signing right-hander Lucas Giolito earlier this week, the Boston Red Sox have now waved goodbye to left-hander Chris Sale.

According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Atlanta Braves have agreed to ship infield prospect Vaughn Grissom to Boston in exchange for Sale. The seven-time All-Star has struggled with injuries for years. Sale's 20 starts and 102 innings pitched last season were the most he's thrown since 2019.

This is a gigantic shift for the Red Sox. After sitting on his hands for the first several weeks of the offseason, the team's new chief baseball officer, Craig Breslow, is finally beginning to make some moves.

Red Sox miraculously shed $10.5 million of Chris Sale’s contract in blockbuster trade with Braves

Chris Sale enjoyed tremendous success early in his career with the Chicago White Sox. During his time with the South Siders, Sale was consistently in the mix for the AL Cy Young Award while also appearing in multiple All-Star Games.

Sale was traded to the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2017 season, and his first two seasons with the club were fantastic. From 2017-2018, Sale was 29-12 with a 2.56 ERA. Sale led the league in strikeouts during the 2017 and became a World Series Champion in 2018.

But then the wheels came off. Since signing a five-year/$145-million contract extension prior to the 2019 season, Sale has appeared in just 56 games and posted a 4.16 ERA. Sale underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020, and suffered a myriad of injuries in 2022.

The Red Sox still owed Sale $27.5 million for this coming season with a club-option for 2025. But now, perhaps Craig Breslow and the rest of the Boston Red Sox front office can address other needs with the money they'll be saving now that a portion of Sale's contract is off the books. Boston will be sending $17 million to Atlanta, and now has an additional $10.5 million at their disposal to either tack an extra year onto Teoscar Hernández's deal or sign a top-tier starting pitcher. Or, devilishly, both, if they feel like being the all-caps RED SOX.

Vaughn Grissom is a fine pickup as well. The 22-year-old has a .746 OPS through his first two seasons in the big leagues that includes just 64 games. Grissom has very good bat-to-ball skills and will be battling for a spot on the Red Sox infield during spring training.