Top deal: Atlanta traded a highly touted prospect for a….

Braves’ real reason behind intriguing Chris Sale trade with Red Sox.

Atlanta traded a highly touted prospect for a pitcher with an extensive injury history.

The Atlanta Braves on Saturday acquired left-hander Chris Sale from the Boston Red Sox in a blockbuster trade for young infielder Vaughn Grissom.

Sale waived his no-trade clause to make this deal happen, but why did the Braves make the move for a pitcher who has dealt with so many injuries in the last several years? Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic explains:

“Morton, who has averaged 31 starts in three seasons with the Braves and produced an adjusted ERA better than league average, will be a high bar to clear. Anthopoulos, in discussing the acquisition of Sale from the Red Sox, acknowledged to reporters, “There’s health history, and I understand that’s going to be a topic.” So why part with Grissom, a promising hitter about to turn 23, for a pitcher who last cleared 160 innings in 2017? Why invite risk when safer options were available earlier this offseason, and remain available in trade and in free agency?

The answers, according to sources briefed on the Braves’ thinking, start with the high price for starting pitching – and not just Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who commanded a record $325 million deal for a pitcher before ever performing in the majors.

At 34, Sonny Gray went for three years, $75 million, plus a draft pick. Frankie Montas and Jack Flaherty, each coming off two straight uninspiring seasons, went for $16 million and $14 million, respectively. Heaven knows what Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery and Shota Imanaga will command as free agents, and what Dylan Cease and Corbin Burnes might bring back in trades.

Consider Tyler Glasnow, a pitcher in whom the Braves had interest. To get him, the Dodgers gave up two intriguing young players, right-hander Ryan Pepiot and outfielder Jonny DeLuca, and absorbed about $33 million in additional salary obligations for 2024. As a condition of the deal, Glasnow also agreed to a four-year, $111.5 million extension.”

So ultimately, considering the price of starting pitching, the Braves decided that Sale was worth the high cost and the risk. When healthy, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. Atlanta is hoping he get back to that point.

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