Boston left-hander Chris Sale is not on the trade block, but the Red Sox are reportedly listening to inquiries about his availability.
The team’s willingness to field offers is based on the belief that its starting rotation has depth, the New York Post reported Saturday.
After the loss of shortstop Xander Bogaerts in free agency, and the expected move of Trevor Story to the position, the Red Sox have a big infield hole to fill and could use a pitcher as trade collateral.
The Red Sox have six potential starter candidates less than two months before the start of spring training: Sale, left-hander James Paxton, and right-handers Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Houck and Brayan Bello.
Sale signed a five-year, $145 million contract with the Red Sox in March 2019 and is under contract through the 2024 season. It includes a full no-trade clause.
Still, the Red Sox haven’t gotten much return from their investment in Sale, who will turn 34 just before the start of the 2023 season, because of injuries.
The seven-time All-Star underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the 2020 season, not returning to MLB action until August 2021.
In 2022, Sale missed time due to a rib stress fracture, a finger fracture and a broken right wrist. The latter resulted from a bicycle accident and ended his season.
As a result, he has pitched just 48 1/3 innings over the past three seasons combined.
Sale is 114-75 lifetime with a 3.03 ERA in 323 games (243 starts) for the Chicago White Sox (2010-16) and Red Sox. His rate of 11.07 strikeouts per nine innings is the highest all-time.
–Field Level Media