Sale expresses appreciation for White Sox fans

Sale expresses appreciation for White Sox fans

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Chris Sale is gone, but he won't soon forget his seven seasons in Chicago.

"I really appreciate the White Sox fans' support through the years and can't wait to come back to Chicago and see everyone," Sale wrote in a text to MLB.com on Tuesday after he was traded to Boston in exchange for infielder Yoan Moncada, right-handers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz, and outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe. "I have a lot of great memories in Chicago, and a piece of me will always be in that city."

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Sale, 27, began his Chicago career out of the bullpen approximately two months after he was selected 13th overall by the South Siders in the 2010 Draft. He moved to the rotation in 2012, and he was named an All-Star in each of his five seasons as a starter.

His 274 strikeouts in 2015 are a single-season franchise mark, his six complete games in 2016 topped the Majors, and myriad statistics point the lanky southpaw toward being quite possibly the team's best pitcher in the modern era.

His tenure wasn't perfect, with a jersey-shredding incident leading to a five-game suspension this past season and a few heated arguments with executive vice president Ken Williams along the way, but even if the method wasn't always right, the message behind it always was the same. Sale wanted to win, and he fought to give the team what he believed was its best chance at success.

"That competitiveness and that fight is part of what makes him good in between the white lines," general manager Rick Hahn said. "Sometimes it may have spilled over a little in a way I think he would say in retrospect wasn't quite appropriate, but he understood that, and we understood where he was coming from."

It's an exciting time for Sale, who is expecting his second son with wife Brianne in the next two weeks. He looks forward to the opportunity to win with Boston, not to mention to live at home during his first Florida Spring Training, but he also praised the White Sox, just as he did the team's fan base.

"He was excited about the chance to potentially go win something with Boston, which you have to respect," Hahn said. "We wished him well, but he was very considerate and appreciative for what the organization had done for him."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. 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.