Chris Sale has a sore elbow and underwent an MRI on Tuesday in yet another blow to the Boston Red Sox. While nothing is known about the severity of Sale's elbow issues, his MRI results were sent off for review by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. That can't be good.
Elbow soreness and inflammation shut Sale's 2019 season down in August, but after meeting with Andrews it was determined he didn't need Tommy John surgery. He sat out the rest of the year and was hoping to return full-go this year.
Sale signed a contract extension last April that will begin paying out this year. It's a five-year, $145 million deal, so this isn't exactly what the Red Sox envisioned when they imagined the start of the pact.
The 30-year-old had a forgettable 2019, in which he had a career-worst record of 6-11, with a career-high 4.40 ERA. Sale still struck out an incredible 218 batters in just 147.1 innings, but his fastball velocity was down for much of the year, and he allowed a career-worst 1.47 home runs per nine innings. Battlers also hit .309 on balls in play off of him, which was also a career-worst.
After trading away Mookie Betts and David Price's contract, the Red Sox need the version of Sale they paid for last April, or the next few years will be extremely difficult. They didn't budget for another lost season or a declining player.