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Atlanta Braves Acquire Chris Sale After Vaughn Grissom Move to Red Sox

Vaughn Grissom (Credits: Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Braves have bolstered their pitching rotation by acquiring left-hander Chris Sale from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for infielder Vaughn Grissom, a move aimed at fortifying their lineup for a potential run at another World Series title.

Sale, 34, agreed to waive his no-trade clause to finalize the deal, which concludes a series of efforts by the Braves to enhance their starting pitching.

Grissom, who was involved in various trade discussions this offseason, including talks for Dylan Cease of the Chicago White Sox, became the pivotal piece to secure Sale. As part of the trade, the Braves will also receive $17 million to offset Sale’s $27.5 million salary for 2024, according to sources.

After several injury-plagued seasons, Sale rebounded in 2023 with a 4.30 ERA over 102⅔ innings, recording 125 strikeouts, 29 walks, and allowing 15 home runs.

His return to form follows a period of significant setbacks, including Tommy John surgery in 2020 and a rib injury that delayed his 2022 season debut and ultimately ended it early.

Despite not reaching the peak of his earlier career dominance, Sale’s capabilities remain well above average, positioning him as a valuable addition to an already formidable Braves rotation.

The team began the offseason as favorites for the World Series, a status challenged by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ signings of Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Sale, who boasts a career record of 120-80 with a 3.10 ERA and an impressive strikeout rate of 11.1 per nine innings, alongside just 2.1 walks per nine, is slated for free agency after the 2024 season.

Under the leadership of President of Baseball Operations Alex Anthopoulos, the Braves have been the most active team in baseball this winter, executing nine trades and managing substantial financial commitments to strengthen their roster during a rare competitive window.

Chris Sale (Credits: Elise Amendola)

Key players like Ronald Acuna Jr., Austin Riley, Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Michael Harris II, Sean Murphy, and Spencer Strider have been secured with long-term contracts, ensuring stability and competitiveness for the team.

Grissom, who turns 23 soon, showed promise during his brief tenure with the Braves, debuting in 2022 and demonstrating solid offensive skills.

However, with limited opportunities for consistent playing time and the acquisition of Jarred Kelenic for left field, Grissom became expendable.

His versatility and potential will now benefit the Red Sox, possibly filling their vacant second-base position amidst fan concerns over the team’s offseason activities.

Sale’s departure from Boston marks the end of a seven-year tenure that began with high expectations following a trade from the White Sox, where Sale spent the first seven seasons of his career.

He arrived in Boston as a key figure, finishing second in Cy Young Award voting in 2017 and contributing to the team’s 2018 World Series triumph.

Despite sporadic availability due to injuries, Sale’s impact on the Red Sox was notable, though the team struggled with last-place finishes in the AL East during his sidelined periods.

Looking ahead to the 2024 season, the Braves’ pitching staff under Anthopoulos appears exceptionally deep with talents like Sale, Strider, Fried, Morton, and a competitive group vying for the fifth rotation spot.

The team’s proactive approach to bolstering its pitching depth mirrors their strategy to navigate the challenges of a long baseball season effectively.

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