Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale has suffered a fractured foot and is expected to be sidelined for three weeks. Sale apparently suffered the injury while unloading some things from his truck. CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes had the story and his Twitter feed has a bit more detail.
We're just over five weeks from Opening Day, so if Sale is in fact out for three weeks, he'll have only 16 days to prepare for Opening Day. That could be enough time to get him stretched to throw 5 or 6 innings, but it seems to me there's a pretty good chance he'll miss a start or two at the beginning of the season.
The White Sox were big spenders this offseason, adding Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson, Adam LaRoche, and Melky Cabrera. Despite all that, I see them as only fringe contenders. (PECOTA and FanGraphs agree, their projected standings have the Sox down for only 78 wins.) To the extent that Chicago has a real chance at winning the AL Central or grabbing a spot in the Wild Card, another big season from Sale would almost have to be a part of it. Sale has a legitimate claim to being the best pitcher in the American League, and if he ends up missing more than a couple starts, or if his performance suffers because of the foot, it would be a major blow for Chicago.
Obviously I want the Indians to win the division, but I hate seeing top players on the shelf. I hope Sale is able to make a quick and complete recovery.
(...then I hope the Tribe knocks him around the way they have the last couple years!)