Sale remains happy with his contract

As other pitchers agree to big deals this offseason, lefty says he 'could not have asked for anything more'

Sale remains happy with his contract

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- What do David Price, Jordan Zimmermann, Zack Greinke and Jeff Samardzija have in common?

For the purpose of this particular question, the answer is: All four of these pitchers have agreed to deals during this current offseason paying them considerably more than Chris Sale.

There's no question that the White Sox ace firmly has a place in the team picture featuring some of the best starting pitchers in the game, even if his payout is not in the 80, 90 or 100 millions. But before anybody feels sorry for Sale playing through a five-year, $32.5 million deal with team options for 2018 ($12.5 million) and '19 ($15 million), understand Sale remains as happy with his contract as the day he signed it.

In fact, Sale believes that extension contributed to him performing at such a high level.

"To be able to be that young and be able to just keep playing the game as a kid and not have to worry about the business side, I think it has done me a lot of good," the 26-year-old Sale told MLB.com. He signed this deal at 22. "Being able to just show up and say, 'You know what. It's in the books. It doesn't matter what happens today. I just have to show up and work hard and play as hard as I can. That's it.'

"I'm not worried about numbers and getting hurt. I go out there with everything I've got all the time because I want to do as good as I can, but hey, it's there."

Sale readily admits that the little kid in everybody, in pretty much any walk of life, thinks about that monstrous payday. He also gave strong praise to Price for being extremely deserving of his deal, speaking days before the Greinke and Samardzija news was announced.

At the end of the day, Sale knew exactly what he was getting into in regard to his contract extension. His agents filled him in with every possible scenario on what could happen when he sat down to sign: good, bad, indifferent, absolutely terrible, unbelievable.

"I've seen it since then, just kind of going crazy and not one part of me, and I'm being as honest as I can possibly be, there's not one part of me that is upset, sad, whatever you want to call it," Sale said. "Not one bit of me feels that way. I knew exactly what I was getting into at the time I was getting into it, and I could not have asked for anything more."

The greatness of Sale's deal extends beyond his immense value as the face of the White Sox. With top free-agent hurlers coming off the board, teams who missed out could pursue Sale during the Winter Meetings in Nashville, as well as teammate Jose Quintana, for that matter, who has a similar team-friendly deal coupled with consistent success.

General manager Rick Hahn has stated the White Sox have no untouchables, but Sale is pretty darn close. The left-hander certainly isn't concerned about some overwhelming offer prying him away, preparing himself for Glendale, Ariz., in mid-February despite the "what-ifs" that arise this time of year.

"We want to have nice things here, too, and we believe that premium talent belongs on this roster," Hahn said. "But, at the same time, we have a responsibility to listen and hear other people's ideas, and if we are overwhelmed on such a player, then perhaps there would be something there."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.