MILWAUKEE -- General manager Ken Williams confirmed on Tuesday that left-hander Chris Sale will be a starting pitcher next season.
Shortly after the season, pitching coach Don Cooper said that Sale's status would not be determined until the team's organization meetings which took place last week. The move was not unexpected, but there were a few voices in the Sox camp that promoted the idea of Sale staying in the bullpen -- veteran reliever Jesse Crain among them -- because of Sale's ability to close games or shut down left-handed hitters if needed in the seventh of eighth. There is also some concern -- although not great -- about whether Sale's slight build will be suited for a starting role.
The bottom line is, Sale is more than a two-pitch pitcher and has too much talent to not be given more innings. If free agent Mark Buehrle -- who has been offered a contract by the Miami Marlins and whose agent, Jeff Berry, spoke with the Marlins again on Tuesday -- leaves for another club, Sale would fill a void.
Sale's departure in the pen still leaves the Sox with two left-handed relievers, Matt Thornton and Will Ohman.