For Chris Sale, the summer of 2018 represents a milestone anniversary of sorts, and one that is probably best understood by a member of the Mariners organization. This season marks the 10-year checkpoint for a summer of transformation that in many ways served as the point of departure for Sale’s emergence as one of the game’s true standouts.
In 2008, after a freshman season spent mostly in the bullpen at Florida Gulf Coast University (21 games, 36⅓ innings, 3.47 ERA, 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings), Sale drove out to Wisconsin to take part in the summer Northwoods League. There, he played for the La Crosse Loggers, a team overseen by coach Andy McKay.
McKay, now the Mariners director of player development, saw a pitcher with enormous but unrealized potential. In conjunction with hitting coach (and former big leaguer) Greg Vaughn and pitching coach Derek Tate, he saw a chance to make an impact.