Rosenthal: Sale extension 5 years, $145 million

E5 Yaz

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Your point was that the RS should have known Sale was not confident of his ability to pitch well and therefore Sale agreed to a reasonable contract.
I can't believe I, of all people, am doing this ... but P91's point -- which has been echoed by several on the boards -- is one that I adhere to as well.

There was no reason to sign Sale to the extension ... particularly an extension that reads as though there was no concern about his health or effectiveness going forward.

The Price contract was already going to hamstring the budget, and Sale's usage had to be managed significantly down the stretch, after periodic shutdowns. What was it about the trends that compelled the Red Sox to believe that he would be worth $27.5M in 2024?

This isn't confirmation bias. This is what was discussed at the time of the deal. That's performance this season only exacerbates the evidence about about the poor judgment about the size of the deal.

Should the top heavy budget wind up costing the team Mookie, it's only going to look worse as Sale and Price reach the back ends of their deals
 

joe dokes

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I can't believe I, of all people, am doing this ... but P91's point -- which has been echoed by several on the boards -- is one that I adhere to as well.

There was no reason to sign Sale to the extension ... particularly an extension that reads as though there was no concern about his health or effectiveness going forward.

The Price contract was already going to hamstring the budget, and Sale's usage had to be managed significantly down the stretch, after periodic shutdowns. What was it about the trends that compelled the Red Sox to believe that he would be worth $27.5M in 2024?

This isn't confirmation bias. This is what was discussed at the time of the deal. That's performance this season only exacerbates the evidence about about the poor judgment about the size of the deal.

Should the top heavy budget wind up costing the team Mookie, it's only going to look worse as Sale and Price reach the back ends of their deals
Like a lot of contracts in the last 10 years or so, I suppose we wont really know if it was a mistake until we can look more backwards (Drew and Lackey come to mind as players who provided some contrary evidence later in their deals).
But to your point, quite a few people noted at the time that it was risky -- more risky than the average FA pitcher of his age -- given the $$ and how his last couple of seasons had gone. That said, I dont think that's quite enough evidence to proclaim that DD is a shitty GM, always has been and always will be as some are rushing to be first in line for.
 

chawson

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Who would you want in the 2020 rotation if not Sale, then? There were definitely flags, but considering the alternatives and the fact the Sox needed to replace 400 innings in 2020, Sale was, and probably is, as good a bet as anyone for that kind of contract.

Gerrit Cole is the only pitcher becoming available who deserves that kind of money, and the Sox probably know that their odds of signing him over the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers (he’s a SoCal guy) are slim. I’d rather roll with Sale + Velazquez in 2020 than, say, Gibson + Odorizzi at the same money, but even that hypothetical presumes that there’d be two FA pitchers worth signing that would even want to come here.

My preference would be to do another Beckett-style trade, trading offense for a cost-controlled starter, but we don’t have a ton of firepower for that.
 

Plympton91

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Your point was that the RS should have known Sale was not confident of his ability to pitch well and therefore Sale agreed to a reasonable contract. If X had a lousy year, you could have said the same about him signing his contract. In retrospect, it isn't very hard to determine who was worth signing. And that is my point. Show me the big outcry against the Sale contract at the time it was signed.
Go read my posts from then. I said it as it was happening, “The bugger the discount Sale is willing to take, the less interested the Red Sox should be in signing him.”

It was a classic application of the lemons problem in economics.
 

Harry Hooper

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Winding the clock back to the offseason, per spotrac.com, career earnings through the end of the 2019 season:

Sale = $61.8 million, signing what will probably be his last major multiyear deal for 2020 onward

Bogaerts = $25.8 million, signing with the stroke of a pen a multiyear contract with a 2020 salary alone that will nearly double his career earnings
 

DrewDawg

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I love that no one had any comments in this thread after last night. Never change SoSH :)
 

Pitt the Elder

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Someone that knows more about pitching than me can take a shot at this, but I've been trying to figure out why Sale is having the season he is. Relative to 2018, a few observations:
  • His ERA is a lot higher and objectively bad (2.11 -> 4.41, 52nd out of 72 qualified)
  • His FIP is a lot higher but objectively good (1.98 -> 3.35, 14th out of 72 qualified)
  • his xFIP is higher but objectively exceptional (2.31 -> 2.91, 3rd out of 72 qualified)
  • His velocity is down (95.2 -> 93.4 on his 4-seam)
  • His K/9 is similar (13.50 -> 13.18)
  • His BB/9 is slightly higher (1.94 -> 2.24)
  • His HR/9 is a lot higher (0.63 -> 1.41, 20th worst in baseball out of 72 qualified)
  • He's been nearly as good with bases empty, with AVG (.201 -> .202), K/9 (13.18 -> 13.34), BB/9 (2.13 -> 2.73), wOBA (.261 -> .275), Hard Hit % (26.1% -> 30.7%), HR/9 (0.84 ->1.17)
  • He's been much worse with men on base, with AVG (.144 -> .255), K/9 (14.02 -> 12.39), BB/9 (1.62 -> 1.47), wOBA (.194 -> .324), Hard Hit % (27.3% -> 43.5%), HR/9 (0.30 ->1.80)
Even though Sale's velocity is down, that doesn't seem to be the problem. He's still missing bats, his K rate is phenomenal, and the velocity is there when he wants it (his last pitch last night was 97). While not as good as last year, his FIP and xFIP are still really good, mostly because his K rate is so good, his BB rate is so low. However, his HR/9 has spiked to the point where it's one of the worst in baseball. More specifically, he is *much* worse with men on base than last year. Last year, with men on base, he became nearly unhittable. This year, the opposite is happening, with guys hitting him much harder. Given that he's walking batters at a higher clip this year, he's pitching with men on base more often, which is fueling this sort of negative feedback loop. Anecdotally, this makes sense. Several times this year, Sale is cruising until he gives up a walk or a base hit, and then the wheels fall off as guys start hitting the ball out of the park.

This implies that Sale's real issue is that he has some kind of mechanical issue out of the stretch, either by tipping his pitches or by struggling with movement or location. Maybe it's a little bit of both. This seems like a much more fixable issue than injury or age-related decline. Is there anyone here that can speak to his mechanics with some expertise?
 

Rovin Romine

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There's also pitch calling/location to factor in. Maybe they're trying to do something this year that isn't fooling anyone - resulting in more HRs.
 

Harry Hooper

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Earlier in the week, Cora said on WEEI that the "fix" that Sale had recently discovered had to do with action on his slider. I don't recall the specifics, but his interview should be up on WEEI.com
 

azsoxpatsfan

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Someone that knows more about pitching than me can take a shot at this, but I've been trying to figure out why Sale is having the season he is. Relative to 2018, a few observations:
  • His ERA is a lot higher and objectively bad (2.11 -> 4.41, 52nd out of 72 qualified)
  • His FIP is a lot higher but objectively good (1.98 -> 3.35, 14th out of 72 qualified)
  • his xFIP is higher but objectively exceptional (2.31 -> 2.91, 3rd out of 72 qualified)
  • His velocity is down (95.2 -> 93.4 on his 4-seam)
  • His K/9 is similar (13.50 -> 13.18)
  • His BB/9 is slightly higher (1.94 -> 2.24)
  • His HR/9 is a lot higher (0.63 -> 1.41, 20th worst in baseball out of 72 qualified)
  • He's been nearly as good with bases empty, with AVG (.201 -> .202), K/9 (13.18 -> 13.34), BB/9 (2.13 -> 2.73), wOBA (.261 -> .275), Hard Hit % (26.1% -> 30.7%), HR/9 (0.84 ->1.17)
  • He's been much worse with men on base, with AVG (.144 -> .255), K/9 (14.02 -> 12.39), BB/9 (1.62 -> 1.47), wOBA (.194 -> .324), Hard Hit % (27.3% -> 43.5%), HR/9 (0.30 ->1.80)
Even though Sale's velocity is down, that doesn't seem to be the problem. He's still missing bats, his K rate is phenomenal, and the velocity is there when he wants it (his last pitch last night was 97). While not as good as last year, his FIP and xFIP are still really good, mostly because his K rate is so good, his BB rate is so low. However, his HR/9 has spiked to the point where it's one of the worst in baseball. More specifically, he is *much* worse with men on base than last year. Last year, with men on base, he became nearly unhittable. This year, the opposite is happening, with guys hitting him much harder. Given that he's walking batters at a higher clip this year, he's pitching with men on base more often, which is fueling this sort of negative feedback loop. Anecdotally, this makes sense. Several times this year, Sale is cruising until he gives up a walk or a base hit, and then the wheels fall off as guys start hitting the ball out of the park.

This implies that Sale's real issue is that he has some kind of mechanical issue out of the stretch, either by tipping his pitches or by struggling with movement or location. Maybe it's a little bit of both. This seems like a much more fixable issue than injury or age-related decline. Is there anyone here that can speak to his mechanics with some expertise?
Part of it is definitely luck. .293 BABIP with bases empty, .342 with runners on, .423 with RISP. Part of that is due to him having a hard hit rate around 10 points higher with runners on and with RISP than with bases empty. He’s also giving up fewer fly balls than he has in recent years, but a huge number of them are going for homers, which could also be due to luck. Then again, I said this a few weeks ago in this thread and said I expected him to be a lot better and he proceeded to be terrible from the moment I posted that until last night so who knows.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Someone that knows more about pitching than me can take a shot at this, but I've been trying to figure out why Sale is having the season he is. Relative to 2018, a few observations:
  • His ERA is a lot higher and objectively bad (2.11 -> 4.41, 52nd out of 72 qualified)
  • His FIP is a lot higher but objectively good (1.98 -> 3.35, 14th out of 72 qualified)
  • his xFIP is higher but objectively exceptional (2.31 -> 2.91, 3rd out of 72 qualified)
  • His velocity is down (95.2 -> 93.4 on his 4-seam)
  • His K/9 is similar (13.50 -> 13.18)
  • His BB/9 is slightly higher (1.94 -> 2.24)
  • His HR/9 is a lot higher (0.63 -> 1.41, 20th worst in baseball out of 72 qualified)
  • He's been nearly as good with bases empty, with AVG (.201 -> .202), K/9 (13.18 -> 13.34), BB/9 (2.13 -> 2.73), wOBA (.261 -> .275), Hard Hit % (26.1% -> 30.7%), HR/9 (0.84 ->1.17)
  • He's been much worse with men on base, with AVG (.144 -> .255), K/9 (14.02 -> 12.39), BB/9 (1.62 -> 1.47), wOBA (.194 -> .324), Hard Hit % (27.3% -> 43.5%), HR/9 (0.30 ->1.80)
Even though Sale's velocity is down, that doesn't seem to be the problem. He's still missing bats, his K rate is phenomenal, and the velocity is there when he wants it (his last pitch last night was 97). While not as good as last year, his FIP and xFIP are still really good, mostly because his K rate is so good, his BB rate is so low. However, his HR/9 has spiked to the point where it's one of the worst in baseball. More specifically, he is *much* worse with men on base than last year. Last year, with men on base, he became nearly unhittable. This year, the opposite is happening, with guys hitting him much harder. Given that he's walking batters at a higher clip this year, he's pitching with men on base more often, which is fueling this sort of negative feedback loop. Anecdotally, this makes sense. Several times this year, Sale is cruising until he gives up a walk or a base hit, and then the wheels fall off as guys start hitting the ball out of the park.

This implies that Sale's real issue is that he has some kind of mechanical issue out of the stretch, either by tipping his pitches or by struggling with movement or location. Maybe it's a little bit of both. This seems like a much more fixable issue than injury or age-related decline. Is there anyone here that can speak to his mechanics with some expertise?
I mentioned this in the Dombrowski thread but Sale's BABIP against with Men On Base is .342 and with Men in Scoring Position is .423 (even though he is striking out 15.75/9 and has a FIP of 2.05 with Men in Scoring Position). He also has a .571 BABIP against in high leverage situations even though he has 15.63 K/9 and a FIP of 1.17 in these situations.

He also has a Left on Base Percentage of: 4.0% with Men on Base; -29.8% with Men in Scoring Position; and -36.4 in high leverage situations.

It could be that he's not catching any breaks.

All per Fangraphs.
 

Spelunker

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Earlier in the week, Cora said on WEEI that the "fix" that Sale had recently discovered had to do with action on his slider. I don't recall the specifics, but his interview should be up on WEEI.com
Do we have a way of seeing batter results by pitch type? E.g. is opposing slugging / HR rate higher on his slider (as compared to previous years)?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I mentioned this in the Dombrowski thread but Sale's BABIP against with Men On Base is .342 and with Men in Scoring Position is .423 (even though he is striking out 15.75/9 and has a FIP of 2.05 with Men in Scoring Position). He also has a .571 BABIP against in high leverage situations even though he has 15.63 K/9 and a FIP of 1.17 in these situations.

He also has a Left on Base Percentage of: 4.0% with Men on Base; -29.8% with Men in Scoring Position; and -36.4 in high leverage situations.

It could be that he's not catching any breaks.

All per Fangraphs.
Or his pitch location is more affected by pitching out of the stretch than the wind-up. Pitch location is very important as it pertains to defensive shifts. If he's missing his spots and those misses are getting hit, they're likely getting hit into locations where the defenders are not. In other words, if they're shifting a guy to pull, and Sale misses on the outside part of the plate where the guy can easily hit it the other way, it's more likely to drop in. Or if they're playing the infield in, and he leaves a pitch up, the batter is more likely to hit it over the infield.

Wild in the zone can result in plenty of strikeouts, so his numbers there could still be good. But wild in the zone can also produce undesirable contact.
 

Pitt the Elder

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Do we have a way of seeing batter results by pitch type? E.g. is opposing slugging / HR rate higher on his slider (as compared to previous years)?
Per baseballsavant.com, here's how his slider is being hit this year vs last (2018 vs 2019):
  • XWOBA: 0.165 -> 0.243
  • Hard Hit %: 20.5 -> 27.1
  • Barrel %: 5.7% -> 5.1%
To be fair, he's doing worse on all of his pitches in one way or another.
 

nvalvo

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Per baseballsavant.com, here's how his slider is being hit this year vs last (2018 vs 2019):
  • XWOBA: 0.165 -> 0.243
  • Hard Hit %: 20.5 -> 27.1
  • Barrel %: 5.7% -> 5.1%
To be fair, he's doing worse on all of his pitches in one way or another.
More hard hit balls, but fewer barrels (*very* hard hit balls) suggests noise to me.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Or his pitch location is more affected by pitching out of the stretch than the wind-up. Pitch location is very important as it pertains to defensive shifts. If he's missing his spots and those misses are getting hit, they're likely getting hit into locations where the defenders are not. In other words, if they're shifting a guy to pull, and Sale misses on the outside part of the plate where the guy can easily hit it the other way, it's more likely to drop in. Or if they're playing the infield in, and he leaves a pitch up, the batter is more likely to hit it over the infield.

Wild in the zone can result in plenty of strikeouts, so his numbers there could still be good. But wild in the zone can also produce undesirable contact.
That is certainly one way of looking at the numbers but three reasons I would suggest it's more luck than location: (i) Men on Base BABIP-against (as opposed to Men in Scoring Position and high lev situations) isn't overly high, which would be weird if pitching from the stretch had some mechanical issues; (ii) K/9 in both Men in Scoring and High Leverage situations is really high, which means that if he's missing spots, it doesn't appear that he's doing so consistently; and (iii) LOB % seems super low to me (I'm not an expert on this stat but I looked at 2018 for Sale and it was substantial higher).

edit: playing around with Fangraphs search engine, with regards to Men in Scoring Position BABIP is SSS because we're only talking about 24 IP in this situation. However, Sale's .423 is 12th highest in baseball of pitchers with over 10 such IP. Interestingly enough, Barnes (13.0) is 7th highest at .440 and Price (23.2 IP) is 4th highest at .450.

With respect to the high leverage situations, Sale is 5th worst among pitchers who have more than 10 total batters faced in leverage situations (Sale has faced 28).

Sale's LOB% with runners on base (4%) is tied for 5th lowest by number of pitchers who have more than 25 qualifying IPs, with David Hess at -11.6% as the worst, followed by Tommy Milone (-5.9%); Felix Pena (-2.9%), and Matt Harvey (0%).
 
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OCD SS

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I wonder how much his issues are simultaneously masked and exacerbated by the lively ball being introduced into the current extreme offensive environment (high K/ high HR). Looking at performance changes just between last year on an individual basis leaves out what seems like an obvious change in the offensive environment league wide.
 

Pitt the Elder

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I wonder how much his issues are simultaneously masked and exacerbated by the lively ball being introduced into the current extreme offensive environment (high K/ high HR). Looking at performance changes just between last year on an individual basis leaves out what seems like an obvious change in the offensive environment league wide.
True, but Sale's HR/9 is bad even among his contemporaneous peers at 20th worst among 72 qualified starters. It's even worse with men on base.
 

DanoooME

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Another statistical oddity with Sale. Most pitchers get worse the more times they go through the lineup. As shown below for all of MLB's starting pitchers in 2019 (courtesy BBRef)

1st time through: 30K PA, .243/.309/.417
2nd time through: 29K PA, .264/.325/.455
3rd time through: 17K PA, .266/.327/.469
4+ time through: 666 PA, .254/.299/.432 (obviously SSS applies here)

Here are Sale's numbers:
1st: 216 PA, .168/.245/.296
2nd: 216 PA, .304/.360/.572
3rd:148 PA, .191/.243/.353
4+ : 4 PA, .000/.000/.000

So the first time through the order, guys hit like Keon Broxton against him this year. The second time through, guys are hitting like Freddie Freeman this year with a few less walks. 3rd time through they hit like Wellington Castillo this year. Granted, the sample sizes are still a little small, but there has to be something to be THAT MUCH of a difference. Could it be the game plan? Maybe there's something there around the approach the 2nd time through the order after a successful initial trip?

Quickly checked the rest of the starters: Porcello gets hammered pretty equally across the board, Price shows similar splits as Sale, just not as drastic (OPSes 687, 839, 750), and Rodriguez shows the exact opposite split (832, 590, 843). Probably just noise, but maybe there is something there.
 

Pitt the Elder

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Another statistical oddity with Sale. Most pitchers get worse the more times they go through the lineup. As shown below for all of MLB's starting pitchers in 2019 (courtesy BBRef)

1st time through: 30K PA, .243/.309/.417
2nd time through: 29K PA, .264/.325/.455
3rd time through: 17K PA, .266/.327/.469
4+ time through: 666 PA, .254/.299/.432 (obviously SSS applies here)

Here are Sale's numbers:
1st: 216 PA, .168/.245/.296
2nd: 216 PA, .304/.360/.572
3rd:148 PA, .191/.243/.353
4+ : 4 PA, .000/.000/.000

So the first time through the order, guys hit like Keon Broxton against him this year. The second time through, guys are hitting like Freddie Freeman this year with a few less walks. 3rd time through they hit like Wellington Castillo this year. Granted, the sample sizes are still a little small, but there has to be something to be THAT MUCH of a difference. Could it be the game plan? Maybe there's something there around the approach the 2nd time through the order after a successful initial trip?

Quickly checked the rest of the starters: Porcello gets hammered pretty equally across the board, Price shows similar splits as Sale, just not as drastic (OPSes 687, 839, 750), and Rodriguez shows the exact opposite split (832, 590, 843). Probably just noise, but maybe there is something there.
Survivorship bias? When he's pitching poorly, he doesn't stay in long enough to face the order a 3rd time. If he's seeing them a 3rd time, it means he's pitching well.

It is alarming how much worse he is on the 2nd time through than the 1st.