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Red Sox hurler Sale agrees to long-term extension

Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale has signed a five-year contract extension, the reigning World Series champions announced Saturday (AFP Photo/Sean M. Haffey)

Washington (AFP) - Boston Red Sox left-handed pitcher Chris Sale became the latest All-Star to agree to a long-term contract extension as the World Series champions announced his new five-year, $145 million deal on Saturday.

Sale, who would have become a free agent after the Major League Baseball season, will make $15 million this year, the final campaign of the five-year, $32.5 million extension he signed with the Chicago White Sox in 2013.

His new deal will begin in 2020 and should keep him in Boston through 2024.

At a press conference at the team's spring training facility in Florida, Sale thanked team owner John Henry and chairman Tom Warner.

"I know this is a big step for them to take," Sale said. "I made it adamant in the beginning that I wanted to be here, and I'm very thankful we made it happen.

"I also want to thank my teammates," he added, saying that throughout his contract talks "they've been awesome and without them, I'm nothing".

While Sale has never won a Cy Young Award, he has finished in the top six in the voting each of the past seven seasons, over which he has won 99 games and averaged 198 innings per season with a 2.91 earned run average and 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

Last seson, he went 12-4 with 2.11 ERA and 237 strikeouts and started the All-Star Game for a third straight time.

He is the latest marquee player to ink a hefty extension this pre-season, a list that includes Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout, star third baseman Alex Bregman with the Houston Astros and Paul Goldschmidt with the St. Louis Cardinals.