The Atlanta Braves have signed left-hander Chris Sale to a two-year, $38 million contract extension, the team announced Thursday, restructuring his deal in the wake of his trade from the Boston Red Sox last week.

Sale's previous contract ran through 2024 and guaranteed him $27.5 million -- though $10 million of it was deferred, bringing the present value down to around $20-21 million -- with a $20 million club option for 2025. The new deal bumps Sale's present-day guarantee significantly, giving him $16 million in 2024 and $22 million in 2025, while the Braves add a buyout-free $18 million club option for 2026.

The Braves' commitment to Sale, who will turn 35 on March 30, was already clear when they traded Vaughn Grissom, their top hitting prospect, to the Red Sox for Sale and $17 million. While the cash will pay this year's salary, Atlanta's commitment to Sale in 2025 and procurement of the 2026 option gives the team certainty as its pitching rotation is almost sure to change.

Left-hander Max Fried, the team's longest tenured starter, will hit free agency after 2024 and could get a deal in excess of $200 million, a number unlikely to fit in the Braves' budget. Right-hander Charlie Morton, 40, could retire.

With Spencer Strider the only rotation staple locked up past this season, the Braves turned to Sale, hoping he will help lead the next generation of Atlanta pitchers that includes AJ Smith-Shawver, Hurston Waldrep and Bryce Elder.

Sale's resurgence in 2023 came after a four-year stretch that bumped him off what looked at one point like a surefire Hall of Fame career. After seven consecutive All-Star appearances and top-six Cy Young finishes, Sale started falling off in 2019, right after he signed a five-year, $145 million contract extension with the Red Sox. He missed 2020 and most of 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, then started only two games in 2022 with back issues, a broken finger and a broken wrist.

In 20 starts last year, Sale posted a 4.30 ERA over 102⅔ innings, struck out 125 and walked just 29. His stuff remained strong enough that Atlanta, cognizant of the cost of front-line pitching in free agency, invested in one of the most accomplished pitchers in baseball.

Sale's résumé includes a 120-80 record, a 3.10 ERA over 1,780⅔ innings and 2,189 strikeouts, more than five times his walks issued. Sale's 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings remains the highest mark ever for a starter.

With Sale joining Strider, Fried and Morton in the rotation -- plus a spectacular lineup that includes reigning National League MVP Ronald Acuna Jr., Austin Riley and Matt Olson -- the Braves are heavy favorites to win the NL East for the seventh consecutive season.