Red Sox Clay Buchholz Will Not Be Traded


Have you ever wondered what people are thinking sometimes? You can’t fathom how individuals arrive at particular conclusions that seem so illogical that you want to pull your arm off, just so you have something to throw at them? One of those times has approached, with the trade rumor involving the Boston Red Sox and their ace starting pitcher Clay Buchholz.

Charlie Wilmoth of said yesterday, “Trade rumors earlier this summer had connected teams like the the [Houston] Astros and [Pittsburgh] Pirates, to Buchholz. The Red Sox have won nine of their last 12 games and aren’t entirely out of the playoff race, however, and they hold options on Buchholz for 2016 and 2017 at reasonable prices, so it’s not surprising that rumors about Buchholz haven’t been particularly active lately.”

Yet, the Providence Journal‘s Brian MacPherson tweeted an idea that has sparked some of those rumors, again:

At least he admits that the trade still would not have happened. However, Buchholz actually did get injured in the game last night against the New York Yankees. The reported right elbow tightness that he has been battling through was too much for him, and he was pulled out of the fourth inning. It wasn’t like Buchholz was dying on the field. In fact, other than the Alex Rodriguez solo-shot in the first inning, Buchholz was holding up pretty well. He was not some dominating force, like he has been in recent games, but he was getting key outs. In the fourth inning, he gave up two hits; however, it was reliever Robbie Ross and the defense who led to the team’s eventual downfall. Two out of Buchholz’s charged three runs were unearned. That important fact somehow escaped some supposed baseball experts:

An hour later, this tweet appears:

That’s why rumors are like death to any club. The rumors breed followers. Let’s just remember something: when the wife gets sick, after slaving away to make your life better, you don’t just go to the bar that night looking for a replacement. There are names for guys who do that, you know.

Ricky Doyle of NESN reported Red Sox manager John Farrell giving an update about Buchholz’s status, after the game, saying, “He’s undergoing a full workup with imaging. Until we get any further information, that’s all we have right now.” Doyle also provided evidence of how much the rest of the team values Buchholz: “‘He’s been big for us. He’s been our ace,’ said [infielder] Brock Holt, whose error in the fourth inning opened the door for New York’s three-run, game-changing frame. ‘Every fifth day, he goes out and he’s giving us a chance to win. To see him go out, it’s a big loss for us.'”

That’s exactly the key argument for why the rumor consumers need to make-a-relax about the Red Sox and Buchholz.

The man has pitched incredibly well, which is why rumors surfaced in the first place. Almost everyone in both major leagues are in need of starting pitching, and the clubs are kicking the tires of other teams to see what shakes loose. Buchholz is on a team in the basement of the American League East division, pitching 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in his last five starts. He threw nine complete innings against the Astros in his previous start, striking out eight batters and allowed only a single run on six hits. He did the same to the Toronto Blue Jays in the start before that in eight innings, striking out five batters from arguably the most potent MLB offense. Of course teams are going to show interest.

The fact is that the Red Sox were right in not trading him, regardless of what the doctors tell Buchholz about his injury. Boston was only 5.5 games back of the Yankees for the A.L. East lead, going into last night’s game, winning seven out of their last ten games. The Red Sox were also only five games out of the A.L. wild card race, too. Everyone under the sun was counting the Red Sox out of any sort of playoff race throughout April, May, and June; yet, Buchholz has been one of the most important reasons for why the Red Sox have clawed back into the hunt. It would have been foolish to have traded him, as he has been the best pitcher on the team.

Compared to the rest of the Red Sox starting rotation, Buchholz has been the leader. His 1.46 ERA in the team’s last seven games, including two of Buchholz’s starts, has led the team to victory by example. The point is even more proven when you look at the team’s last 30 games, where Buchholz posted a 1.79 ERA and struck out 33 batters, while walking only three, in 40.1 innings. The next closest pitcher with the same relative amount of innings is Wade Miley, who posted a 4.19 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 16 walks.

In that same stretch, Buchholz’s numbers ranked him in seventh place for all American League pitchers for ERA. For pitchers who threw more than 40 innings, Buchholz’s ERA would be ranked second, only behind Detroit Tigers ace David Price. That’s what an ace like Buchholz does for you: he dominates.

Imagine if the Red Sox would have traded Buchholz away earlier in the season? That’s what the pundits just said that they wanted before and after Buchholz left injured, last night.

Jul 4, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon (3) congratulates pitcher Clay Buchholz (11) on getting the complete game win at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

If the doctors say that the injury is too much for Buchholz to continue the season, which is unlikely, then his value will be sitting on the bench, instead of another player filling in for him. Who would that player have been? It’s not like a team would have traded an ace for another ace. The trade would have been for a position player, on a team like Boston whose offense has improved from the youth factors like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts. Either that or the trade would have been for prospects, in which case everyone would have had to wait for them to develop, anyways.

No trade for Buchholz would have made any sense for this season. His injury likely will not keep him out of the rotation for the rest of the season, although any time gone would be very unfortunate and detrimental to the team. If his absence means that much to the team, then trading him would have been absolutely devastating. Even though the team knew about the elbow being an issue, Boston would not have gotten a replacement for him in any form of trade, as every team is holding onto their pitchers like they’re all aces in a game of poker. The best course of action was to keep playing Buchholz and see if he could make it to the All-Star Break. Who knows? Maybe the injury had good timing, and he could be back in a couple weeks and he wouldn’t need to miss as many starts.

Instead of following the rumors with our pitchforks, how about we thank Buchholz for bringing the Red Sox back from complete disgrace and into the A.L. division race, with some well-wishes for a speedy recovery.

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