When a team continues to sit in the division basement at the end of June, regardless of recent wins, one can expect rumors to spread. The Boston Red Sox are such a team this season, and trade rumors are the order of the day. One rumor singles out starting pitcher and the arguable ace of the Red Sox, Clay Buchholz.
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It’s really hard to see Buchholz leaving the team in any form of trade, especially when Joe Kelly was recently sent down to the minors and Rick Porcello has been struggling at times. Eduardo Rodriguez has been strong, even after being roughed up in his last start, and Wade Miley has been the pillar of power on the mound in his last few starts. However, they will need to show consistency for the long haul before anyone declares them as elite pitching. That inconsistency is what makes Buchholz more valuable to the Red Sox than any other team that wants his services in trade talks.
One such team, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, is the Pittsburgh Pirates.
After Buchholz’s good start on Wednesday, Cafardo reported that “Buchholz’s good run explains why teams are now sending scouts to watch his every start. On Wednesday night, one of those teams was the Pirates, who are looking for another starter. The Pirates don’t often spend big money, but Buchholz would fit into a lot of teams’ financial plans.”
Cafardo also said, “[Buchholz] makes $12 million this season, so there’s about $6 million left, not a huge number for any team to pick up. He also has affordable team options of $13 million and $13.5 million for the next two seasons.”
However, Cafardo also admits that the Red Sox would then also not have a reason to trade him, with those options making him affordable to Boston, as well.
So true, in this case.
The 6-foot-3 righty is 30 years old, in the prime of his life, should be around for a long time in the majors. With well-documented arguments about his ace status, Buchholz has been pitching through it all. In his last three starts, Buchholz has pitched to the seventh and eighth innings, allowing a combined five runs. Four of those runs came from the high-powered Toronto Blue Jays offense that leads the entire MLB in run production. Buchholz still got seven strikeouts in that game. He then blanked the Atlanta Braves and gave up only a single run against the hot Baltimore Orioles, another division rival.
Another telling sign that Buchholz is hitting his spots is that he gave up only one walk in each of those three games.
Considering Buchholz’s career ERA is 3.90, his 2015 season has been a personal success with a 3.68 ERA. Would it not be foolish then to trade him, if he is doing everything that he can to help the team?
Jun 13, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz (11) at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
The Red Sox are dead last in pitching in the entire American League, with a 4.45 team ERA. They are in eighth place in the A.L. in terms of runs (308), ahead of the A.L. East division leaders the Tampa Bay Rays (276). If Boston is not losing the division race in runs, although it’s also been a problem in many games, then pitching is the main concern. If the season ended today, the Rays would have won the division solely by having a strong pitching staff. Out of the top 50 pitchers in the A.L., Buchholz is ranked 25th as of this morning. Not bad for a veteran who was the toast of the town in 2013 and is now vilified when Red Sox Nation thinks of the team pitching as a whole.
Cafardo wrote about the Red Sox brass and if they had any thoughts of trading Buchholz: “Right now, according to team sources, they have no intention of doing so.”
Whether it be now or near the end of the trade deadline, the Red Sox would be foolish to let Buchholz go in a trade. They need pitching. The Pirates are not going to trade away their best pitcher Gerrit Cole (11-3, 2.16 ERA) to Boston for Buchholz; they would trade position players in return. That’s all the Red Sox need: more position players that they don’t know where to put.
If a rumor is going to have any weight to it for Boston, it will have to be one where Red Sox position players are involved. If you hear one about Clay Buchholz in the next few months, put it out of your mind. The people who thought it up are out of their minds, anyways.
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