Baseballs

Red Sox, Braves exchange question marks

It’s full speed ahead for the Red Sox’ Full Throttle Winter.

Or so they hope.

Saturday they traded Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves for middle infield prospect Vaughn Grissom.

They also gave the Braves $17 million. Sale will earn $25 million in 2024. 

Since no one can be within a mile of certitude that Sale will make it through the season as a healthy, productive starter, forking over most of his salary is the only way the Red Sox could unload him.

Alex Cora came as close as a reasonable person could. Watching Sale look like the Ace of old last September, Cora said that he expected Sale to be his 2024 Opening Day starter. 

But pushing all the chips to the center of table meant feeling sure that there was no more elbow inflammation, shoulder inflammation, cracked ribs or broken wrists.

When a man breaks his wrist while riding a bike, he must be hexed.

When Sale arrived in 2017 he lived up to all expectations. The Red Sox had themselves an Ace – 17-8, 2.90, more than 300 strikeouts.

He began 2018 going 12-4 … and that began his slide into relative oblivion.

For the remainder of his time in Boston he nursed one injury or another. By 2020 he was remembered only when he made a start. For four most of the seasons, that gave New Englanders 31 times to heave sighs over what might have been, and lots of time to brood.

Grissom is said to be a top-shelf prospect. Braves baseball operations head Alex Anthopoulos simply gushed over the kid, so much so that even Red Sox baseball chief Craig Breslow must have blushed.

As it stands in late December, 2023, Grissom is as much a gamble as Sale. Anyone with a total of 31 big-league games on his resume is a gamble.

The kid could be a Hall of Famer, The kid could flame out in his first full big-league season.

A gamble comes, a gamble goes.