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MODEST PROPOSAL
April 04, 2011
Chris Sale is the domestic version of the Reds' Aroldis Chapman. Both fireballing lefthanders were signed in 2010—Sale as the 13th pick in the draft, out of Florida Gulf Coast University, Chapman as an amateur free agent from Cuba—and both blasted their way to the majors late last season. Like Chapman, Sale was a starter as an amateur and has worked exclusively out of the bullpen since reaching the majors, striking out more than a third of the batters he faced in 21 late-season appearances. The debate over Sale—should he start or close?—leaves out the best option: Use him as a multiple-inning reliever. His experience as a starting pitcher means his endurance shouldn't be a question, and his stuff is good enough to retire righthanded and lefthanded hitters. (It was a limited sample, but his OPS against righties last year, .454, was far lower than his .694 mark against lefties.) Sale's power arm would be a major mid- to late-game weapon for manager Ozzie Guillen in what will be a tough, three-team AL Central race.
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April 04, 2011

Modest Proposal

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Chris Sale is the domestic version of the Reds' Aroldis Chapman. Both fireballing lefthanders were signed in 2010—Sale as the 13th pick in the draft, out of Florida Gulf Coast University, Chapman as an amateur free agent from Cuba—and both blasted their way to the majors late last season. Like Chapman, Sale was a starter as an amateur and has worked exclusively out of the bullpen since reaching the majors, striking out more than a third of the batters he faced in 21 late-season appearances. The debate over Sale—should he start or close?—leaves out the best option: Use him as a multiple-inning reliever. His experience as a starting pitcher means his endurance shouldn't be a question, and his stuff is good enough to retire righthanded and lefthanded hitters. (It was a limited sample, but his OPS against righties last year, .454, was far lower than his .694 mark against lefties.) Sale's power arm would be a major mid- to late-game weapon for manager Ozzie Guillen in what will be a tough, three-team AL Central race.

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