Red Sox Trade Chris Sale to Atlanta Braves for Vaughn Grissom

The Atlanta Braves have swung a big trade to bolster their rotation, adding Chris Sale from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Vaughn Grissom.

Chris Sale
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 14: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox walks off the mound after pitching against the Baltimore Orioles during the third inning at Fenway Park on August 14, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

In an offseason where there has been a lot of unpredictable moves, this latest blockbuster trade may take the cake for being the most shocking.

The Atlanta Braves have finally addressed their need to add to their starting rotation and have done so by adding a pitcher who comes with a lot of upside, but also plenty of risk. The Braves have swung a deal with the Boston Red Sox to acquire seven-time All-Star, Chris Sale.

Sale is entering his age-35 season and is coming off his first relatively healthy campaign since 2019. Across the three prior years, Sale only made 11 starts for the Boston Red Sox. Last season, Sale made 20 starts and pitched to a 4.30 ERA.

While some of his numbers were down compared to his peak years, Sale still was very effective, as he struck out 29.4% of the batters he faced, showing he can still be a high-end starter when healthy.

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The when healthy part is the massive caveat. Sale missed time last year with a stress reaction to his scapula, which caused him to miss most of June, all of July and some of August.

Still, Sale averaged 93.9 MPH on his fastball in 2023, and generated a whiff% of 38.9% on his slider and 31.9% on his change-up. The stuff is still there for Sale, which is what the Braves are clearly betting on in this deal.

Sale is owed $27.5 million for the 2024 season and has a club option for $20 million in 2025. The Red Sox are kicking money back to the Braves in this deal and in exchange Boston is getting talented former top prospect Vaughn Grissom.

Grissom has played 64 games across the last two seasons with the Braves and has hit .287/.339/.407, with a 107 wRC+. In Triple-A last year, the 22-year-old hit .330/.419/.501, with a 135 wRC+.

There is no doubt that the Red Sox are getting a guy who will hit in the big leagues, the only question is where his long-term fit will be defensively. Regardless, to turn their oft-injured ace into a position player who they basically have full control of is a big win for Boston.

For the Braves, this is a clear upside play, for a team that has real World Series aspirations this year. A rotation of Spencer Strider, Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Chris Sale and Bryce Elder could be one of the best in baseball, if not the best.

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