The Atlanta Braves are acquiring veteran left-handed pitcher Chris Sale in a deal with the Boston Red Sox, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The Braves are sending infield prospect Vaughn Grissom to Boston as part of the deal. The Red Sox are also sending money on top of Sale to Atlanta, per Passan. Sale agreed to waive his no-trade clause in order to facilitate the deal.
Sale is a seven-time All-Star and helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2018. He’s pitched very little since the 2019 season due to various injuries, including Tommy John surgery back in 2020, when he missed the entire season. Sale has also suffered from rib injuries and a broken right wrist. He’s in the final year of his contract for 2024 but has a club option for 2025 before hitting free agency.
This past season for the Red Sox, Sale was able to start 20 games, finishing 6-5 with a 4.30 ERA with 125 strikeouts over 102.2 innings pitched. Sale had only made 11 total starts from 2020-2022 due to injury. At 34 years old, Sale has dealt with a lot of injuries and wear-and-tear on his body. Still, he’s an incredibly talented pitcher and the Braves likely have hopes Sale can find some of the magic he had earlier in his career when he was a perennial Cy Young candidate.
Grissom, 22, was regarded as one of the top prospects for the Braves. He turns 23 in January and was blocked from making the infield for Atlanta. Grissom appeared in 41 games for the Braves back in 2022, batting .291 with five HRs and 18 RBI over 156 plate appearances. Last season, Grissom only played in 23 games, hitting .280 with nine RBI over 80 PAs.
It’s a good move for the Red Sox, who have finished last in the AL East in each of the past two seasons. Boston usually has to retool every few seasons after contending. The Red Sox also have an opening at shortstop for Grissom to compete for the starting job in 2024. We could also see Grissom play second base for Boston. Eventually the plan for Boston will be to start top prospect Marcelo Mayer at short. Grissom could be used as a stop-gap or even be moved to the outfield after the team sent Alex Verdugo to the Yankees earlier this offseason.
Atlanta’s rotation should feature Spencer Strider, Bryce Elder, Charlie Morton, Max Fried and Sale competing for the fifth slot. Given Sale’s contract it would be surprising to see him not in the Opening Day rotation.