When Chris Sale started to slide in the first round of the draft because of signability, it was a surprise that the thrifty White Sox were the team that selected him. Now comes a bigger surprise: the first- or second-rated college pitcher on most draft boards has agreed to terms for a bonus equal to MLB's bonus recommendation for his No. 13 slot a year ago: $1.656 million.
Sale will take a physical on Monday and likely will sign his deal on Tuesday. He's the highest-drafted player to agree to terms so far this summer.
Sale and Mississippi lefthander Drew Pomeranz were the two best college pitchers in the 2010 draft. In recent years, the top college pitchers who have set themselves apart from the pack usually have received major league contracts. From 2004-09, 11 college pitchers signed big league deals with an average bonus of $3.3 million and a guarantee of $5 million.
While Sale will get less money than anticipated, the White Sox will give him every opportunity to crash their big league bullpen, perhaps as early as August. He'll initially report to high Class A Winston-Salem, with an anticipated promotion to Triple-A Charlotte in mid-July. After spending this summer as a reliever, he'll work in the Arizona Fall League as a starter and get the opportunity to make Chicago's rotation in spring training next year.