Chris Sale’s freshly-inked 5-year contract extension will leave the Red Sox searching for answers to a number of questions as they move forward, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI. With Sale’s contract including an opt-out after 2022, the Red Sox could find themselves in a tricky situation at that time. Bradford notes that the contracts of fellow starters Nathan Eovaldi and David Price expire after 2022, and lefty Eduardo Rodriguez is controllable through 2021, meaning that if Sale chooses to exercise his opt-out clause, the team could find itself wanting for starters. Of course, it’s far from a foregone conclusion that Sale will opt for free agency after the third year of his new contract, but it is certainly a situation that Red Sox brass will monitor as that time draws nearer. Pressure could be on the Red Sox to find and develop a new guard of young pitchers to fill the shoes of big-name Boston starters.
Some other notes from the AL East…
- The Blue Jays received some encouraging news today, with manager Charlie Montoyo informing reporters (including Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi) that right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera, who has recently been dealing with elbow inflammation, will not require surgery. Having been cleared, Tepera will resume throwing on Tuesday. Montoyo added (Twitter link) that fellow right-hander Bud Norris is expected to be ready to play on Opening Day and will pitch an inning today.
- Orioles designated hitter Mark Trumbo will begin the season on the IL, reports Dan Connolly of The Athletic. After undergoing knee surgery last September, the slugger will have to wait to make his 2019 debut. With Trumbo on the shelf, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde may look to allocate DH at-bats by committee, though Trey Mancini appears the most obvious candidate to fill that role. While it remains unclear just how much time Trumbo will miss, he said that it could be a month or more before he’s able to take the field (via MASN’s Roch Kubatko on Twitter).
- The Rays will get right-handed pitcher Sam McWilliams back, according to Juan Toribio of MLB.com (Twitter link). McWilliams had been selected by the Royals in December’s Rule-5 Draft, but will be returned to his prior club after failing to crack Kansas City’s Opening Day roster. McWilliams, who is not on the Rays’ 40-man roster, will report to minor league camp with the Rays.