The Boston Red Sox have spoken to the Marlins about a Clay Buchholz trade, but thus far Miami has scoffed at the asking price.
The quest to find enigmatic starter Clay Buchholz a new home continues. According to a report from the Miami Herald, the Boston Red Sox spoke briefly with the Marlins about the 32-year old right-hander, but those talks have yet to amount to anything.
Boston has made Buchholz very much available to anyone willing to take him off their hands. The Red Sox had a surplus of starting pitchers even before adding Chris Sale to the mix, leaving them more motivated than ever to move one of their expendable rotation options.
Buchholz, who is owed $13.5 million in the final year of his contract, would be the team’s top preference to deal, as removing his salary would put them in position to duck the luxury tax.
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Buchholz is still capable of being a solid starter, as he proved down the stretch in 2016. However, his erratic performance over the last few years has been frustrating and the Red Sox have more reliable options to fill out their rotation. His modest salary is reasonable for teams that would view him as a starter, but he’s vastly overpaid as a middle reliever that isn’t likely to factor into high leverage situations in the Red Sox bullpen.
While the Marlins have shown some interest in Buchholz, they aren’t willing to surrender right-handed pitching prospect Luis Castillo, the price Boston requested in return.
Castillo is ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the Marlins system by MLB.com, while there are some in Miami’s front office that believe he will develop into a 20-game winner. The hard-throwing right-hander owned a 2.26 ERA over 131 2/3 innings in time split between Single-A and Double-A last season.
Neither side has ruled out revisiting a trade, but Boston would need to lower their asking price and may need to eat a portion of Buchholz’ contract.
Dave Dombrowski has yet to trade for a player that doesn’t have any major league experience since taking over as the Red Sox president of baseball operations, but after depleting the farm system with his previous deals it would make sense for him to aim for a prospect or two in return for Buchholz. He could also target a cheaper reliever, allowing the team to shed salary while replacing Buchholz in the bullpen with a pitcher that has a stronger track record in the bullpen.
Either way, expect Buchholz to be moved before Opening Day. If nothing else, the report out Miami confirms there is at least mild interest in Buchholz, raising optimism that a deal can get done.