The Red Sox traded Clay Buchholz to the Phillies today for minor league second baseman Josh Tobias. The move was not a major surprise as it was known that the Red Sox were looking to move one of their seven starting pitchers. It really was between Buchholz and Drew Pomeranz. Given that Buchholz was making $13.5 million this year and was going to be a free agent at the end of the season, he was the odd man out. After ten years of ups and downs on the Red Sox, they have moved on. Over the course of those ten years, Buchholz posted an 81-61 record with a 3.96 ERA. Last season, he was 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA. These are hardly great numbers, but Buchholz did play a key role in the Red Sox success down the stretch last season. In the second half of the season, he was 5-1 with a 3.22 ERA. He ended up the season where he started it in the starting rotation. The difference was that he was much more reliable at the end.
Most of Red Sox Nation is happy today. This was a guy that virtually no one liked to watch pitch. If you were going to Fenway, you could add on an extra half hour to your night and you would be perfectly fine with missing the first two innings. This was a guy who had all of the talent to be an elite pitcher and it never really panned out. No more slowing the game down when a runner gets to first base. No more sulking on the mound. No more home runs closing in on the Mass Pike. Good riddance, right?
Here are First Score Boston’s five reason why the Red Sox will regret trading Clay Buchholz.
1. The Red Sox didn’t get a good return for Buchholz. The scouting report on Tobias is that he’s potentially a good power hitter who struggles defensively and doesn’t project as having a defined big league position. Oh, great… So, the Sox just traded Buchholz for a potential DH in a best case scenario? The Red Sox are going to be contenders this year and their goal is going to be to win the World Series, right? They couldn’t get another bullpen arm? A backup third baseman? Something to help the big league club?
2. Prediction: Buchholz will have a big year with the Phillies. Count on it. 12+ wins and a sub – 3.50 ERA in Philadelphia this year. It’s a big contract year for Buchholz and if there was ever a year for him to come into spring training motivated, it would be this year. The talent is there. He has shown it in stretches. This is the year he needs to put it all together.
3. The Red Sox will now potentially have four left handed pitchers in their starting rotation. The top three of Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello are set. Then Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright, and Drew Pomeranz will be battling for the 4th and 5th spot. If Wright is the odd man out or if there’s an injury, there’s a strong possibility that the Red Sox will have four left handed starters. Most teams want to have one or two lefties, but no one wants four. Right handed lineups would love this. Facing left handed starters three or four days in a row would make it difficult for the Red Sox to change things up against their opponents. Granted, this should not be a problem for Sale or Price, but it could prove to be a problem for the others.
4. The Henry Owens Factor. We’ve all heard it a million times. You can never have enough starting pitching. The Red Sox had a luxury of having seven quality starters. They had two guys in Buchholz and Pomeranz who can pitch both out of the bullpen and as starters. Poof! It’s gone. By trading Buchholz, the Red Sox now have a depth chart of one pitcher. Next on the list is Henry Owens. No thanks. You’ll see him up at some point. Perhaps, more than once. When it happens, you’ll hear the outcries for Buchholz that you didn’t hear today when Owens is giving up six runs in three innings.
The Red Sox are going to regret trading Clay Buchholz. When they’re looking for a starting pitcher this season, let’s just hope Josh Tobias is doing more than playing DH for the PawSox.