FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was just the first official workout of spring training, but it’s already evident that Chris Sale is going to need two healthy shoulders to carry all that weight into the upcoming season.

The Red Sox still haven’t called him about a potential contract extension, he said, leaving the 29-year-old without a contract beyond 2019 as he attempts to come back from an injury-plagued season to help the Sox defend their World Series title.

“But like I said, I don’t have time to worry about that,” Sale said Wednesday, speaking after practice. “We’ve got another championship to go for and that’s where my head is at. That’s where my head has always been at.

“Those are the things that I feel have personally helped me be successful. It’s not worrying about any of that. I get the ball. I throw it until it’s taken away from me and four days later, I do the same thing. That’s my plan.”

Sale makes it seem easy to ignore his contractual status altogether. But that’s the way it’s been for him his entire career.

Drafted by the White Sox 13th overall in 2010, he threw just 101/3 innings in the minors before he was called up to the majors that same year. Two years later, he signed a team-friendly contract extension. He’s now in the final year of that deal, which will pay him $15 million.


“I never really had that moment in time where it was the anxiety of free agency,” he said. “I’ve always just kind of been under contract and just gone out there and played. So for me that’s just kind of the same thing I’m going to do.

“I can’t worry about dollars and cents or years or contracts or all that other stuff, because I never have. I think that’s helped me be successful. I’ve never had to worry about the nuts and bolts. I’ve just turned on the car and go.”

Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox president of baseball operations, said Sale is totally healthy and was cleared by doctors for a normal spring training.

But will Boston sign Sale to at least the same contract earned by David Price – a seven-year, $217-million deal before the 2016 season.

“I would love to (stay in Boston),” Sale said. “I think I’ve said that since after my first year here. This is a special place. This is a special group of people. A very special city and an unbelievable fan base. Not to mention the fact that we’ve got a hell of a team and we’re going to have that team for a few years to come.”

DOMBROWSKI STILL plans to trade one of his three catchers, Sandy Leon, Blake Swihart or Christian Vazquez, before Opening Day.


“I think philosophically, yes, that’s what we are planning on doing: to have two catchers rather than three,” Dombrowski said Wednesday. “As you know, that’s always a position where we’re a foul tip away from changing what your outlook is. But realistically I think Opening Day we would have two catchers. But we haven’t made any deals as you can see. I think the catching market overall for trades has been slow.”

The trade market might have opened up after the Marlins dealt J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies last Wednesday. Teams who lost out on Realmuto might pursue free agent Martin Maldonado, a 32-year-old who won a Gold Glove in 2017, or one of three Red Sox catchers.

“The Realmuto deal – we’re not dealing the same level of player – but it affects other clubs, other organizations,” Dombrowski explained. “There’s even a couple free-agent catchers still out there at this time.

“So we don’t want to just give our guys away by any means. We think they’re all big league catchers. All legitimate big league catchers. So we’ll just play it out and see what happens.”

The Red Sox would be in the best position to stay under the third tax threshold if they kept Swihart ($910,000) and moved on from Leon ($2.475 million).

Vazquez has the highest average annual value ($3.74 million), but Manager Alex Cora showed how highly he thinks of Vazquez last postseason. He started him in 10 of 14 postseason games.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.