Chris Sale is a World Series champion, and the offseason is here

Sunday night felt like the result of a Faustian bargain made years ago: Chris Sale struck out the side with three silly sliders getting three silly swings in the ninth inning to seal a World Series title for the Sox …

… but they never said which ooooooonnnnnnnneeeeeeee!

Regardless of what happens from here, both the Red Sox and Chris Sale capitalized on his time with a contender, and their side of the trade is secure. Sale gave the Red Sox exactly what he gave the White Sox — staring pitching quality deserving of heavy Cy Young consideration every year he takes the mound.

The Red Sox gave him what the White Sox couldn’t — a team that knows more about winning than he does.

Put Sale on a team in command of itself (and division), and it keeps the crazy at bay. And when the crazy finally surfaces in the form of a dugout eruption in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday, it’s in an environment that can manufacture it into a positive.

Sale exploded at his team in the dugout six innings into Game 4 on Saturday as the Dodgers held a 4-0 lead by holding the Red Sox to one hit. “He throws two f-cking pitches!” he screamed at his teammates about Dodgers starter Rich Hill.

On a lesser team, maybe this is the sign of fracturing, or at least some eye-rolling. But here, the Red Sox stormed back, going from down 4-0 to winning 9-4, serving up a triumphant narrative on a platter:

In those responses, the Red Sox seem to respect Sale and are amused by him, but they don’t indulge the storyline all that much, because Sale’s desire and ability to win run parallel to theirs. Jeff Passan’s column at Yahoo Sports probably gives it a fair treatment:

“Chris Sale is a leader,” Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers said. “And he did it the way Chris Sale knows how to get the team moving. We have to give him a lot of credit. It was perfect timing.”

He’s right. It was perfect timing, because it looks causative. And then you remember: Sale talking about how hittable Rich Hill should be didn’t cause Moreland to study how Madson pitched Jackie Bradley Jr. while standing on deck. After abandoning his changeup in earlier appearances in the series, Madson had started throwing it again and flipped a few to Bradley. Moreland came to the plate guessing first-pitch changeup, and when it arrived, he parked it well into the right-field stands. The 54,400 at Dodger Stadium who had made the place shake when Yasiel Puig walloped a three-run homer in the sixth to give Los Angeles its lead went almost silent.

The little moments like Moreland’s dissection of Madson – the studying hitters use to mitigate pitchers’ advantage – were abundant in the Red Sox’s comeback. It’s one of the chief reasons they can clinch a championship with David Price on the mound in Game 5 – or, perhaps, Sale, who’s going to be available out of the bullpen Sunday while also slated to start a potential Game 6.

Whether you want to call Sale’s speech meaningful, meaningless or even potentially counterproductive, the Red Sox Machine was able to incorporate it into their triumph, rather than get sidetracked by it. And when it came turn for Sale to walk the talk, he held up his end of the bargain.

Sale’s first post-speech appearance was supposed to be the last appearance by any pitcher in 2018, as he was tasked with recording the final three outs of the clinching game. He got the job done, with his usual amount of overkill. He struck out the side with three filthy sliders, the last of which screwed Manny Machado into the ground:

Personally, I found Sale’s dugout diatribe reassuring. My biggest fear with the Sale trade was that the Red Sox would figure out how to address all of his shortcomings and, in turn, unlock the greatest pitcher alive. That hasn’t happened. Sale still hasn’t solved the second-half fade. The deadpan belly-button ring episode during the ALCS shows he still likes dipping his toe into BS, and now we see that his intensity still can boil over. It’s just all so much more manageable when his freak show isn’t the only thing keeping the circus solvent.

Seeing Sale reach the pinnacle with another uniform while the White Sox hit a 48-year low surely picks open some scabs, but the reminders are constructive. It’s worth knowing the length of the road ahead. The White Sox haven’t yet cemented a young core, and whenever they do, it’ll be just one part of the puzzle.

On that note, welcome to the official start of the offseason. Over the next five days, the White Sox will have to decide on James Shields and Nate Jones. One month from now, the White Sox will have to decide which players to protect from the Rule 5 draft. Get settled, peruse the Offseason Plan Project, and try to enjoy Sale’s spoils vicariously.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Chris who?

Eagle Bones

The Sox DO exist!

The 2018 season came to a satisfying close last night as Steve Pearce and David Price delivered the knockout punches to Clayton Kershaw and the NL Champion Dodgers. The 2018 Red Sox add to a remarkable run of champions from this century of baseball: from Bob Brenly’s Diamondbacks toppling the Yankee dynasty on Luis Gonzalez’s floater (2001), to the every-other-year dominance of Buster Posey’s Giants (2010, 2012, 2014), to the improbably-long World Series droughts ended by the Boston Red Sox (2004), Chicago White Sox (2005) and Chicago Cubs (2016); the losingest franchise in history won a title (Phillies, 2008), and we even saw a small-market cinderella sneak one past the powerhouses (Royals, 2015).


What was the reason his start was pushed back?  Also, what do people feel about the trade?  While his contributions helped secure home field advantage, he didn’t factor much into the postseason.


The red sox won the trade. They acquired Sale to lead them into the playoffs and win the world series. He did that. Can the Sox be co-winners? Sure. (Looks bleak in my opinion), But the Red Sox have solidified that they are not going to lose this trade.

Yolmer's gatorade

Sale was pretty uneven throughout the playoffs. Boston’s mostly home grown talent was a big reason for the win. The trade is a wash until Moncada and Kopech prove to be busts, IMO.

As Cirensica

I am getting tired of seeing these type of comments. Winning the WS starts on day 1, followed by 162 games where teams need to win at a consistent clip to reach the play offs. Sale definitely helped quite substantially the RedSox to reach this years playoffs (Also in prior year)


You must have stopped reading or formed your conclusion before you got to that part of the sentence.

 Question for you, how much was the average ticket price for game 60 of the regular season?  Now compare that to game 1 of the World Series.  The underlying factor in the price difference is importance of game.  

As Cirensica

My reply was towards this phrase:

Boston’s mostly home grown talent was a big reason for the win. The trade is a wash until Moncada and Kopech prove to be busts, IMO.

Which reads to me as diminishing Sale’s overall elite output with the “he can’t perform in the playoff narrative”. Coincidentally, this was also used in D. Price’s case.

Yolmer's gatorade

Sale’s regular season dominance was factored into the trade is all I meant.


I think what was established last night is that Sale is a worthy closer for a WS team and the White Sox should have kept him in that spot! (and why is everyone always down on Bruce Levine?)

As Cirensica

Dombrowski > Hahn

Successful with the Marlins. Won a WS
Went to a tons of playoffs with the Tigers
Successful with the Red Sox. Won a WS

For those who didn’t know it (I certainly didn’t), Dombrowski started his front office career with the White Sox at some point in the 80s….


And, with Tony LaRussa, was fired by Hawk…

As Cirensica


Eagle Bones

Is anyone arguing that Hahn is better?

As Cirensica

No…I hope


I wonder if Hahn made the wrong trade. The Nationals wanted him and I have to imagine we could have had 3-4 of any of the Robles, Soto, Giolito, Lopez, Dunning, Kieboom, Luzardo mix….

I’m not giving up yet, but it has made me follow all of these prospects since the trade

Yolmer's gatorade

I like Kopech a lot when he comes back in 2020. He could have the most impact of any of them.

As Cirensica

Yes, he could be as good as Chris Sale in a couple of years…oh wait

Yolmer's gatorade

Coop’ll fix ’em.

I think you’re missing the biggest point of the trade which was the Sox couldn’t find enough secondary pieces to contend with their previous core. They don’t need superstars necessarily as much as 3+ WAR players at everyone pisition.


Went to the bar last night to watch this one. The pair of Dodgers fans in front of us left in the Top of the Ninth. I was glad to see that even in their darkest hour, Dodgers fans don’t forsake their traditions.

Eagle Bones

White Sox Exercise Option On Nate Jones, Decline Option On James Shields

— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) October 29, 2018

Patrick Nolan



I hate to rehash this but man I feel like the Sox were so close to being good. The winter they decided to go for it early with the Robertson, Cabrera, et al. acquisitions was the time. I was super psyched that winter. But we all knew they were two steps away – another big acquisition (Cespesdes) and replacing Ventura. If they follow through all the way at that point, they could have had a run. Ugh – so frustrating.


How’s that Cespedes contract working out again?

But hindsight is 20:20. I was calling for them to sign him too at the time.

Trooper Galactus

Woulda worked out pretty damn well in 2016, which was largely the point, I guess.

karkovice squad

Right. That was the first deal with the 1-year opt out that he exercised.

It’s the second deal that bit the Mets. But it’s reportedly also insured, likely for up to 75%.


I am complete agreement on your Sale observations. His dug- out tirade ,his annual late season fade and his bs factor. As you observed the Red Sox talent factor were able to mask his weakness in the last third of the season and use his talent in the post season.


It’s just too bad that Sale’s years of dominance with the Sox happened to be under incompetent Robin’s watch. The one regret I have is that the Sox never had a chance to win with Sale, Q and Eaton because they didn’t have a real manager.