MESA, Ariz. – The Chicago White Sox and starter Chris Sale agreed to a 5-year contract Thursday that could reach 7 years and $60 million with options.
The last time the White Sox gave a long-term contract to one of their young pitchers, they got three victories for $8 million.
But that was just the first year of John Danks’ 5-year, $65 million deal, so it still could prove to be of value for the next four.
Nonetheless, Sox general manager Rick Hahn still believes Sale’s potential reward outweighs the risk.
With Sale set to turn 24 at the end of the month and still years from potential free agency, the Sox got contract protection they didn’t get with Danks, who was 26 and already had 918 major league innings when he signed prior to last season.
Sale’s contract is guaranteed for the first 5 years at $32.5 million, which could be a large bargain if Sale keeps delivering as he did in 2012, when he was 17-8 and was named an All-Star, finishing sixth in AL Cy Young Award voting.
The Sox then protected themselves with options years for 2018 and 2019 worth $26 million total. They can decline either of them for $1 million.
“We’ve made no secret in the past we want to keep premium players in a White Sox uniform as long as possible,” Hahn said. “We feel like we’ve taken a step toward doing that with Chris, and having him here potentially through his age-30 season.”