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White Sox extend lefty Chris Sale through 2017 at earliest

Updated: February 26, 2014 7:22PM



SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Chris Sale agreed to a $32.5  million contract extension Thursday that could keep him in a White Sox uniform for seven more seasons.

Based on Sale’s achievement as a rookie and his upside, the contract looks like a good one for the Sox, who have club options for 2018 and 2019 that could raise the total value to $60  million over seven seasons.

‘‘This past offseason was a pretty robust one in terms of where the compensation was going,’’ Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. ‘‘So being able to lock something down before there was further escalation in Chris’s market had a lot of appeal to us.’’

Sale, who was sixth in the American League Cy Young voting after going 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA and 192 strikeouts in 192 innings in his first season as a starter, will receive $850,000 in 2013 (he had been signed for $600,000), $3.5 million in 2014, $6 million in 2015, $9.15 million in 2016 and $12 million in 2017. The Sox hold options for 2018 at $12.5 million and for 2019 at $13.5  million. Sale gets a $1 million buyout if either option is declined. An escalator clause could max out his 2019 option at $16 million if he wins a Cy Young.

As good as the deal might be for the Sox, Hahn must look no further than John Danks, last season’s Opening Day starter who went down with a shoulder injury after signing a five-year, $65  million extension. Sale dealt with a tender elbow for a period last year.

‘‘Certainly a pitcher regardless of their mechanics, there’s a risk involved,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘There’s concern for a potential breakdown. We are confident in Chris’ durability and very optimistic about his future.’’

Hahn said doing a deal that buys out Sale’s three arbitration years and first free-agent season came down to the risk of losing him in free agency in four years or losing him to a potential injury while under contract long-term ‘‘and us being out a few bucks.’’

The reward of possibly having Sale through 2019 tipped the scale on the plus side.

‘‘It has the potential to turn out to be a very fine deal for the club,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘Even if he, for whatever reason, takes a step back and continues to be a fine starter in the American League, it should provide a nice value to the club. And from his perspective, he’s now been able to secure his family’s financial future.’’

Sale was available only before the deal was announced.

‘‘It’s always something that’s on your mind, the appreciation factor they’ve shown,’’ he said Thursday morning of contract talks that had been going on about two weeks.



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