The Boston Red Sox have been quiet regarding pitching. My own addition to the world of pitching desperation is Clay Buchholz.
The Boston Red Sox apparently are going to pass on free agent pitchers Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish. And trades? Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke will not be earning any frequent flyer miles by heading to Logan Airport.
Now before one goes off the rails this is not a sudden handing out of a multi-year deal for millions each season, but simply kicking the baseball tires and see if a low-end deal is possible.
Buchholz was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies and the savings were significant – $13 Million off the books. With Philadelphia, Buchholz had just one appearance and that was dreadful, giving up four runs in five innings. Within a week Buchholz was done for the season with surgery to repair a right forearm flexor muscle.
The right-handed Buchholz is now 33-years-old, and the former first-round selection may or may not be attempting to jump-start a checkered career. At points in his Boston stay, Buchholz was not only one of the best starters on the staff, but one of the best in the league. Capable of a mid-90’s fastball, and devastating curve and a pull the string change-up.
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In 2010 and 2013, Buchholz could have bagged a Cy Young Award – he was that good. In 2010 it was an injury on the basepaths in San Francisco and a neck strain shut Buccholz down for half of 2013. In both the ill-fated season’s, Buchholz was an All-Star selection.
Is Buchholz injury prone? Is Buchholz a baseball hypochondriac? Maybe it is a bit of both? His physical appearance gives the impression of fragility – a pitching answer to the iconic Barney Fife character played by Don Knotts. Buchholz was also on the periphery of the infamous “Beer and Chicken” escapades. But I also remember Buchholz willing to toss a few extra innings to save the bullpen.
This is a low risk and high reward situation. Any contract offered to Buchholz would be a minor league deal and spring training camp invitation. And, of course, if Buccholz is even contemplating a return. This is not – I repeat – a pitcher with a strong resume after a significant arm injury and surgery.
For Boston, it is a familiar face and with John Lester representing the cream de la cream of the farm system starters for the last ten years. If – a very big if – Buccholz has anything left the spring and an early exposure in the minors will show and that could result in a career resuscitation.
I’m all for an invitation for Buchholz just to provide the potential for some pitching help for 2018. If a Kyle Kendrick was worth a fling so is a Buchholz.