Chris Sale introduced himself to the Boston media via a conference call Wednesday morning. (Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports)
OXON HILL, Md. — Chris Sale found out about his trade to the Red Sox while driving up Interstate-75 to his alma mater, Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla. David Price was the first to reach out the Red Sox newly-acquired ace pitcher. And he is looking forward to the competition between starters in the Red Sox rotation, which currently boasts seven members.
These were some of the items touched on during Sale’s introductory conference call Wednesday morning. Here is a transcript:
THOUGHTS ON THE TRADE
Hey guys. I want to say hey to everybody first. No doubt. It’s kind of like being the monkey in the middle. You’re just glad when you finally get the ball. It’s hectic. There’s a lot of speculation, there’s story after story, I’m obviously getting flooded with text messages from family and friends. Just to have the whole process out of the way and get back to some kind of normalcy will be nice.
(THOUGHTS ON COMING TO BOSTON)
I’m excited. You’re talking about one of the greatest baseball franchises ever. I’ve always been a big fan of the Boston Red Sox for a few reasons. It’s also going to be nice to spend more time down in Southwest Florida as well for spring training. That was big for us as well. My wife is a couple weeks away from delivering our second son. We’re having another baby. That helps us out tremendously.
HAPPY IT WAS THE RED SOX?
I’m as excited as anybody, honestly. I don’t know how you couldn’t be. You’re in the annual running for making the playoffs and have a realistic chance for winning the World Series. I think the group of guys, I’ve always heard great things about the guys on this team, the front office. You have dedicated ownership and front office guys dedicated to winning annually. So it’s exciting. I’ve always, always loved going to Boston, pitching in Boston. It’s a trip my wife comes on every year as well. We both really like the city and the stadium. Obviously, it’s a very special place.
TALENT ON RED SOX ROSTER
That’s kind of the cherry on top. You look at the talent on this team as a whole – not only just the pitching staff but as a whole – you’ve got some young guys, you obviously have a veteran leader and one of the best in the game in [Dustin] Pedroia leading the charge, you can’t ask for much more. You have guys in the bullpen who can lock it down. On paper, it looks good. I know we’ve still got to go out there and do it, but there’s no reason not to be excited right now.
HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW DAVID PRICE, RICK PORCELLO?
More so with Price, just seeing each other during the summer. He was actually the first one to reach out to me, welcoming me and saying, hey, let’s go, welcome to the Sox and let’s get it rolling. It’s an honor. You look at these guys, Porcello, he lives down here in Southwest Florida as well so that’s nice. Not only the guys that they are, but heck, David Price won the Cy Young a few years ago, obviously Price this year. Being in that company is nice.
THOUGHTS ON BEING IN THIS ROTATION
Yeah, I think that’s the main thing, the good thing in all of this. I can definitely see a competition between all of us. Not only us three, but everybody. [Drew] Pomeranz, [Eduardo] Rodriguez, pushing each other, trying to be better and just making each other better. It would be nice, regardless of who’s pitching on what night. the next night, we have as good if not a better chance all the way down the line. It’s nice, but not only that, but it takes some pressure off of everybody. Just go out there and pitch because you don’t have feel like you have a huge weight on your shoulders to win this game for sure, 100 percent. It alleviates the pressure that might build on some guys.
ON FINDING OUT ABOUT THE TRADE WHILE VISITING ALMA MATER
It wasn’t even planned. I didn’t know anything until about 11:30 yesterday, really. I got a text from my agent saying things are starting to heat up. Something might happen either today or tomorrow. I had planned on going up to FGCU on Friday because I took some jerseys up there on Friday … I was driving up to FGCU and in the middle of my drive, I’m driving northbound on 75 and I get a call from my agent, he tells me what happens, and then a flood of texts and phone calls come in. yeah, it was pretty special, it was pretty cool going up there and being able to share that moment with those guys.
ON HAVING SPRING TRAINING NEAR HOME
I think that’s going to make the transition a little bit better with everything involved. Good group of guys, good team. Put that on top of being able to stay at our house for a couple more months, especially with a newborn baby. This really couldn’t have worked out better for us, either side of the spectrum, professionally or personally.
ON GETTING MESSAGE FROM WHITE SOX PERSONNEL
Oh, man, it’s been really bittersweet, honestly — exciting for all the reasons I’ve already said, but you get texts from teammates and coaches, my wife is looking at old pictures, and my son had friends there. When Nate Jones tells you that his daughter is going to miss Rylan and our trainer said the same thing, it’s tough. You build a relationship with these guys. We were like family. You’re around these guys probably even more during the year than you are your family. It’s tough, but knowing what lies ahead makes it a little bit easier for that transition. It didn’t work out. I really wish it did. I really have nothing but really good things to take from that. I appreciate my time with the White Sox, but I’m really looking forward to the next chapter.
ON THE PRESSURE OF PLAYING IN BOSTON
It’s fine. That’s part of it, really. I knew that going into it. I’m not a big media guy. I don’t have Twitter. I’m not going to be reading as much about everything as probably the next guy. I’m really more focused on the between-the-lines stuff. That’s what I signed up for. That’s what I look forward to. That’s what I live for, playing the game of baseball. Everything else, it’ll take care of itself, it’ll shake out. The good outweighs the bad. You’ve got to roll with it.
EXCITED TO PITCH IN FENWAY PARK?
No doubt. I’m a firm believer in energy can be created in ballparks. I don’t think there’s any question about that. When you have a packed house and everybody is on their feet and they’re screaming in the eighth inning, there’s no doubt that gives every player on either side a little bit of a jolt. That will be Very, very exciting.
Probably a question better suited for my catcher or teammates. But for me personally when I take the ball it’s everything I’ve got until I don’t have the ball anymore. This year incorporated pitching a little smarter than harder sometimes. Just going all the way out until the ball is taken out of my hands.
DO YOU WANT TO BE CALLED THE ACE?
Once you get going two weeks down the road, numbers get jumbled up, I’m not going to sit here and say this or that about the ‘ace’ tag. I don’t think that matters. I think when you have a group of guys that come together that believe in the same thing and fight for the same purpose, nothing else really matters. We play for a trophy not a tag.
WHO FROM THE RED SOX CONTACTED YOU?
[Dave] Dombrowski and [John] Farrell both called me. Spoke to both of them briefly on the phone. Just getting acquainted with Tom [McLaughlin] the clubhouse guy and Kevin [Gregg] the PR guy and just guys internally in the organization. Pedroia reached out to me, [Clay] Buchholz reached out to me. Porcello and I have some mutual friends down here so I reached out to him to say hello and looking forward to meeting more of the guys and starting that relationship and building it and getting to spend more time in spring training around here will be nice too.
THOUGHTS ON LEAVING THE WHITE SOX
It didn’t work out the way we wanted to in Chicago, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of great moments. Like you said, I actually had a very good conversation with Rick yesterday. It’s one of those things. I was in a situation where, in 2010, how many teams would’ve done what they did? It’s hard to say now, but probably not very many. They drafted me in the first round when people had questions. They brought me up to the big leagues really fast when people probably had questions. They threw me in the rotation when people had questions. They really had my back a lot and gave me opportunities that not a lot of people would’ve given me. I’m very thankful for that.
SURPRISED ABOUT THE TRADE?
No, not really. I mean, people talk about getting traded all the time. There’s a lot of speculation, even on a daily basis. I wasn’t never too worried about getting traded up until the last couple weeks, just being informed by my agent saying, ‘This could happen, this could not happen.’ The closer we got to this date, my agent tried to really explain to me what might happen. That’s kind of how it went.