FORT MYERS, Fla. — Chris Sale is not one to back off. Regarding the fact that closer Craig Kimbrel has not been signed as a free agent, he fired a high, hard one at baseball.
How surprised is Sale that the right-hander who owns 333 saves hasn’t landed a job yet?
“It’s crazy to me,’’ Sale said Wednesday at JetBlue Stadium. “I don’t want to get too far into it with the politics of baseball, but he is as good as it gets. He 100 percent makes any team better that he plays for, right? It’s crazy to think that really there hasn’t been a whole lot of traction with him. Obviously with half the league just showing up for checks doesn’t help. Trying to win, those kinds of things. Your market goes down quite a bit. But he’s earned it. You would just like to see better for him. He’s put in the time. He’s put it on the line, so it’s time for someone to do that for him.”
Sale said it is disappointing Kimbrel is not at training camp with the Red Sox.
“He’s the best reliever in baseball right now over the last nine years,’’ Sale said. “But, at the same time, if he is not in the mix [here], we have a handful of guys that can lock down the ninth inning and we have a lot of young guys that can step up as well.”
As for his own upcoming free agency after the season, Sale said he would “love’’ to sign an extension with the Red Sox.
“This is a special place, this is a special group of people, a very special city and an unbelievable fan base, not to mention the fact that we’ve got a hell of a team and we’re going to have that team for a few years to go,’’ Sale said. “It’s a good spot. I love playing here. I’d love to keep playing here. We’ll see how it works out. … I don’t have time to worry about that. We have another championship to go for, that’s where my head is at.’’
Coming off a season in which he pitched 158 regular-season innings, his lowest total since becoming a starter in 2012, Sale said he learned the value of patience.
“There is nothing worse than sitting on the sidelines and watching your team play without you and watching somebody else do your job,’’ the 6-foot-6, 180-pound lefty said. “I learned patience and trust. I’m not very easygoing in terms of being patient. We put in a lot of work [this winter] to get a better foundation and to strengthen not only my body but my shoulder.’’
Dustin Pedroia (left knee) will be one of the key stories of Red Sox camp.
“He’s one of those guys you can never rule out,’’ Sale said. “I dare you to rule him out, actually. He’s out to prove a point this year and that is a scary thought. You take a perennial All-Star, three-time world champion, former MVP and he wants more now. I think we’re in for some pretty awesome stuff from him this year.’’
This post was originally posted at https://nypost.com/2019/02/14/chris-sale-its-crazy-craig-kimbrel-still-hasnt-been-signed/. WGEH does not own this content and is not responsible for it.