The Chris Sale-for-Vaughn Grissom trade between the Braves and Red Sox caught many in baseball by surprise, including Sale himself. The veteran southpaw related in a recent appearance on the “Baseball Isn’t Boring” podcast (hat tip to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford) that being dealt “wasn’t even in the realm of possibilities. That wasn’t even a thought that crossed my mind” heading into the offseason. As Sale plainly put it, “Why would anybody want me at this point?” in the wake of multiple injury-plagued seasons.
There was also the factor of Sale’s 10-and-5 no-trade rights, so he could’ve rejected the chance to join the Braves. However, after less than a day of discussing things with his family and inner circle, Sale okayed the deal, with some Grapefruit League geography playing a major role. The Braves’ spring facility in North Port, Florida adds only roughly an hour to Sale’s commute from his home, so “I can still live my life while being part of this team in spring training. That was probably the most important thing. One hundred percent. My kids play sports. They’ve got school stuff going on.” Sale also relayed the amusing item that the first proper conversation he had with Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow after weeks of texts and “phone tag” was when Breslow let Sale know the trade was in the works.