GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The contract negotiation process only took two weeks but it was enough for Chris Sale to realize baseball’s business side isn’t much fun.
With this week in the books, Sale won’t have to deal with the financial aspect again for at least another five years.
The White Sox left-hander said Friday morning he’s in a surreal state after he and the club agreed upon a five-year, $32.5-million deal on Monday. The deal includes team options for 2018 and 2019 and has a potential value of $60 million.
As he discussed the process, Sale said he really hadn’t been himself throughout the span. He was distracted. But he’s glad his focus can once again shift to the field.
“The worst part about this game is the business side, for me anyways,” Sale said. “I don’t have to worry about the business side of baseball for the next five years. I can just kind of be like a kid again. All I have to do is play and prepare myself. There’s a lot to be said for that.”
Sale isn’t naïve.
He described himself as being very well educated on the process. He knows he left money on the table, a fact nearly impossible to ignore what with the $175-million contract recently signed by the Seattle Mariners Felix Hernandez and rumors of what Justin Verlander’s next deal will bring.
But Sale also knew he’d be taking a risk if he didn’t sign and chose to instead offer his family security.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity and it’s a blessing for myself and for my family,” Sale said. “So, I’m not going to be looking any past this. I’ll be able to lay my head down just fine every night knowing what I just did.”
Teammate Jake Peavy believes Sale made the right choice.
“Chris got what he was after, and that was some stability and some financial security for his family,” Peavy said. “Being a father and having a wife and kids, it’s important to him to have that security. … The first deal that you sign, if you sign a deal, is going to be team-friendly. You know that going in. But both sides accomplished what they wanted to accomplish.”
Attached to the deal of course is implied leadership in the clubhouse and away from the field. But Sale believes those are expectations he can live up to because of his supporting cast.
“They’re putting a lot of trust in me and I need to do everything I can to be the guy they want me to be,” Sale said. “I’ve just got to be the best person I can be.”
Now that his contract is finalized and he can think about baseball again, Sale shouldn’t have many problems with the task.
“Just everything going in the last couple of weeks, I really haven’t been myself,” Sale said. “It just kind of took over my mind a little bit. I tried to do everything I could to stay focused and not let it run my life or anything. Definitely a big relief.”