Tag: Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz Trade a Win-Win for Red Sox, Phillies

The Boston Red Sox cleared their starting-pitching logjam Tuesday by trading Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The Phils, as Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, sent minor league infielder Josh Tobias to Boston and assumed all of Buchholz’s $13.5 million salary in 2017.

The Red Sox got salary relief. The Phillies got a talented-if-flawed lottery ticket. There are question marks and causes for handwringing, as we’ll delve into shortly. From here, though, it looks like a win-win.

Boston selected Buchholz 42nd overall in 2005 with the compensatory pick they received after Pedro Martinez signed with the New York Mets. He debuted in 2007 and twirled a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park in his second start.

Needless to say, the Beantown faithful had high hopes.

Buchholz showed flashes throughout his 10 seasons with Boston. He made two All-Star teams, in 2010 and 2013, and finished sixth in American League Cy Young Award balloting in 2010, when he led the majors with a 187 ERA+.

Injuries, however, took their toll. Buchholz never threw more than 189.1 innings in a season. Before 2016, he went to the disabled list seven times in his career with the Red Sox. In 2016, he was temporarily bumped from the rotation and finished with a 4.78 ERA in 139.1 frames.

He’s a mixed bag—no argument there—and he’s the poster boy for the “injury-prone” label.

There are causes for optimism, though. Buchholz’s average fastball sat at 92.1 mph in 2016—right around his career average of 92.7 mph. He also finished on a strong note, winning five of six decisions and posting a 2.86 ERA in his final 56.2 innings.

“He’s pitching his best baseball of this year at the right time for us,” Red Sox skipper John Farrell said in early September, per Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. “You can’t give Clay enough credit. … I’m very proud of him. Proud of the resiliency he has shown.”

Buchholz became expendable after the Red Sox acquired ace Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox to join a rotation headlined by reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, David Price and knuckleballer Steven Wright.

Boston could have traded another arm, such as lefty Drew Pomeranz, and likely gotten a better return in prospects. The 24-year-old Tobias, who played at High-A last season, profiles as a fringe big leaguer at best.

Boston, however, gave itself some payroll flexibility. It’s unlikely the Red Sox will use that money now, but it could come in handy if they want to add a veteran piece at the deadline and may protect them from luxury-tax penalties.

The Phillies, likewise, have a crowded rotation that features Jeremy Hellickson, Jerad Eickhoff, Aaron Nola and Vincent Velasquez, with Alec Asher, Zach Eflin, and Jake Thompson also in the mix.

Buchholz could slot into the bullpen. Considering his price tag, however, Philadelphia will surely give him a shot to crack the rotation.

The obvious question is why the Phillies, a young team in the midst of a rebuild, want an expensive one-year rental.

It’s actually part of a pattern. Philadelphia also acquired veteran infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick and reliever Pat Neshek this winterwho each have one year left on their contractsand signed reliever Joaquin Benoit to a one-year pact.

The idea, possibly, is to see if these veteran pieces can mesh with the Phillies’ young core and vault the club into contention in the National League East. Philadelphia finished 71-91 last season but played .500 ball through May. They’re a team on the rise.

If the Phils are fading by the trade deadline, they can dangle their veteran rentals.

Buchholz won’t have much value if he gets hurt or flounders. That’s what makes it a gamble. If he stays off the disabled list and pitches like he did down the stretch in 2016, however, he could bring back a far greater prospect package in late July than he cost the Phillies in mid-December.

As for the money, the Phillies have enough inexpensive pieces on their roster to offset Buchholz’s price tag. Plus, they’re locked into a 25-year, $2.5 billion TV deal.

Getting back to the Red Sox: As enigmatic as he was, Buchholz was their longest-tenured pitcher. In fact, with Buchholz gone, only one member of the Boston roster has been around since 2012, as MLB.com’s Ian Browne pointed out:

It’s the end of the era, even if it was a frequently frustrating era. That deserves at least a passing mention. Buchholz pitched on a World Series winner in 2013, and he’ll always have that rookie no-no.

Now, the Red Sox get to move on. And the Phillies get a chance to see if they can figure Buchholz out.

It’s an intriguing, bittersweet proposition with win-win possibilities.


All statistics and contract information courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

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Clay Buchholz to Phillies: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Pitcher Clay Buchholz is no longer a member of the only MLB team he has known, following a tumultuous 2016 campaign. 

The Philadelphia Phillies announced they acquired Buchholz and sent minor league second baseman Josh Tobias to the Red Sox on Tuesday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman initially reported the deal.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters the Red Sox will listen to potential trade opportunities, but there is “no major drive” to add more players. Dombrowski said trading Buchholz gives the team flexibility during the offseason and puts Boston under the CBT (competitive-balance tax).  

The New York Post‘s Joel Sherman thought the move played into what the Phillies have done this offseason:

MLB.com’s Mike Petriello likes how Philadelphia has assembled its starting rotation:

This comes after Rob Bradford of WEEI.com noted earlier in December teams that talked to the Red Sox about available pitchers sensed Dombrowski was more interested in trading Buchholz over Drew Pomeranz.

Scott Miller of Bleacher Report listed the Miami Marlins as one of the clubs interested in Buchholz, although he reported the $13 million 2016 price tag was too expensive.

Boston acquired Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox this offseason and largely has its rotation set with Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez and Pomeranz all as candidates, which made Buchholz expendable.

Reports of a potential trade involving the right-hander appeared during the regular season, as Heyman tweeted Buchholz “came up in talks” before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline. Buchholz is a former All-Star, but he was far from a shutdown pitcher in 2016, with a 4.78 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 139.1 innings.

The Red Sox moved him to the bullpen after his struggles; home runs in particular were a problem for Buchholz. He allowed 21 long balls, which was still lower than the 25 he gave up in 2012.

He returned to the starting rotation late in the season and turned in a strong finish with a 3.14 ERA in five September appearances. The impressive finishing kick likely made him a more attractive trade target for the Phillies this offseason.

Despite the 2016 struggles, Buchholz was solid for the Red Sox in 2015 with a 3.26 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 107 strikeouts in 113.1 innings. It was a strong bounce-back effort after a lackluster 2014 campaign, when he finished with a 5.34 ERA.

Buchholz has been inconsistent for much of his career even though he made the All-Star Game in 2010 and in 2013:

The hope in Boston in 2016 was that he would look like the All-Star version of himself as the team chased the postseason. However, that was not the case for much of the year, and it reached the point where he said he felt “like something has [to] be going on” when discussing his limited usage in July, per Bradford.

His new team can at least take solace in the fact he has proved himself at the major league level. If he performs like he did in his All-Star campaigns and down the stretch in 2016, he will be an asset in 2017.

What’s more, he made playoff appearances for Boston in 2009, 2013 and 2016 and, theoretically, shouldn’t be intimidated by any important moments for his new squad. Philadelphia’s acquisition could be one of the better under-the-radar swaps of the offseason, especially if the 32-year-old can find consistency.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest on Chris Archer, Clay Buchholz and More Offseason Buzz

An old baseball adage suggests “you can never have enough pitching,” and most of the high-profile movement this offseason, both in terms of free agency and trades, is backing up that notion. Front offices around the league are paying sizable prices to improve their rotations and bullpens.

Expect more of the same leading up to spring training since there’s still a talented group of starters available via trade. And there’s plenty of demand among contenders as they look to keep pace with the likes of the reigning champion Chicago Cubs and likely offseason winner Boston Red Sox.

With that in mind, let’s check out some of the latest trade buzz from around MLB and analyze what it could mean for the players and teams involved.


Rays Seeking King’s Ransom for Chris Archer

Chris Archer didn’t live up to expectations leading the Tampa Bay Rays staff this past season. The 28-year-old right-hander went 9-19 with a 4.01 ERA and 1.24 WHIP across 33 starts. Those numbers represented his worst performance since a brief six-game cameo in 2012.

Things weren’t as bad as they may seem on the surface, though. He posted a more typical 3.25 ERA after the All-Star break and still struck out an eye-popping 233 batters in 201.1 innings. His 3.41 xFIP for the season was also below his career average, according to FanGraphs.

That’s why the Rays still want a boatload in return if they decide to trade him. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported the front office is seeking a package bigger than the one the Chicago White Sox received for Chris Sale, which included prized prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech.

Mark Bowman of MLB.com previously noted Archer was the most likely trade target for the Atlanta Braves, but they felt the asking price was too high. The latest update from Topkin explains why.

Of course, there’s no rush for Tampa to make a deal. The starter remains under team control for five more years at club-friendly prices of no more than $8.25 million, per Spotrac. It adds to his value and takes away some of the risk associated with a potential trade.

The Braves make sense as a landing spot. They are looking to turn the corner after a rebuild and have bolstered their rotation with veterans Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey and Jaime Garcia. An ace is still needed, however, but it sounds like they’ll wait to see if the price drops before going all-in on Archer.


Clay Buchholz Being Pushed into Market

Clay Buchholz is an enigma. There are certain years, like 2010 (2.33 ERA) and 2013 (1.74 ERA), when he performs like one of the top pitchers in baseball. Alas, there are also certain seasons, like 2016 (4.78 ERA), when he pitches on a level barely worthy of a major league roster spot.

The 32-year-old Texas native did pitch better down the stretch last season. He accumulated a 3.22 ERA in 19 appearances split between the rotation and bullpen after the All-Star break. It was a much-needed turnaround after finishing the first half with a 5.91 mark.

Now it seems like the Red Sox may try to capitalize on his resurgence by moving him while the pitching market is hot. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported the front office is trying to sell teams on Buchholz rather than Drew Pomeranz as it looks to clear a pitching logjam.

The Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners are among the teams that have called Boston about possibly acquiring a starter, according to Cafardo. He pointed out the veteran’s $13.5 million contract for 2017 is a hurdle in talks, though.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is having a strong offseason, but getting value for Buchholz will be a challenge. Not only is the contract a problem, but the peripheral statistics don’t lend a ton of hope to a major rebound next season.

A team like the Twins is probably Boston’s best bet to unload him. Minnesota continues to lean far too heavily on pitchers with low strikeout potential, and it could still use another starter after Jose Berrios struggled mightily in his first taste of action in the majors in 2016.


Houston Astros Casting Wide Pitching Net

The Houston Astros are prepared to make some serious noise next season. They added Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick and Nori Aoki to help create one of the league’s most well-rounded lineups, and they’re already strong in the bullpen, where so many other teams are looking to upgrade.

While the starting rotation lacks star power outside of Dallas Keuchel, it’s still a rock-solid group that’s probably good enough to guide the team to the playoffs as it sits. Adding another starter with No. 1 or No. 2 ability could move Houston toward title contention, though.

Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reported the Astros are making an effort in that area, adding, “The team has the prospects to get a deal done and is likely to make a move at some point.” He listed Jose Quintana, Jake Odorizzi, Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura and Archer as notable targets.

Aside from Archer, Quintana is the name that stands out most from the group. The 27-year-old lefty has been one of the most reliable starters in baseball since making his debut in 2012. He holds a career 3.41 ERA and has never finished a season with a mark above 3.76.

If the Astros could acquire him for a package of prospects to take the spot where Charlie Morton is penciled in, it’d become hard to find a weak spot on the roster. Such a move would push the team all-in for next season, but it feels like a leap worth taking after years of building.


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Clay Buchholz Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Red Sox SP

With the Boston Red Sox making improvements to their starting rotation, the team has reportedly expressed some interest in dealing veteran Clay Buchholz.

Continue for updates.

Marlins Among Teams Considering Buchholz

Thursday, Dec. 8

According to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, clubs have contacted Boston about multiple pitchers, and the Red Sox have given the indication they are most willing to part with Buchholz.

Bleacher Reports’ Scott Miller, citing sources, later reported that the “[Miami Marlins are] one of these teams Sox pushed Buchholz, but at $13 mil in 2016 too much at the moment for Marlins.”

Red Sox Can Afford to Trade Buchholz

The Red Sox acquired ace Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, which means they now have somewhat of a starting pitching surplus.

With a potential rotation of Sale, David Price, reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz, Buchholz looks to be the odd man out.

His 2016 numbers aren’t overly impressive on the surface, as he went just 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 139.1 innings.

Most of the 32-year-old’s struggles came early in the season, though, as he posted a 6.35 ERA over his first 10 starts. He straightened things out in the bullpen and closed the season strong after being put back in the rotation to the tune of a 2.98 ERA over his final eight outings.

Buchholz has had an up-and-down career, but a recent history of success suggests he can bounce back from some of the issues that plagued him last season.

He is a two-time All-Star, including a trip to the Midsummer classic in 2013 when he went 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA. He hasn’t reached those levels since, but he was solid just two seasons ago with a 3.26 ERA in 18 starts.

There is some risk involved with trading for Buchholz since he will earn $13.5 million in 2017 and may only be a rental since there is one year left on his contract, per Spotrac.

The cost may not be high to land Buchholz, though, since Boston doesn’t have a desirable spot for him and doesn’t seem likely to re-sign him.

Buchholz cannot be trusted as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher anymore, but he is worth a roll of the dice for a team that needs depth and experience at the back end of its starting staff.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Clay Buchholz’s Contract Option Picked Up by Red Sox: Latest Details, Reaction

The Boston Red Sox are betting on a strong rebound from Clay Buchholz in 2017 after announcing they had picked up the starting pitcher’s contract option.  

Jon Heyman of Todays Knuckleball reported in October the Red Sox were “seriously thinking” about picking up Buchholz’s option despite posting a 4.78 ERA in 2016, and some people in MLB felt he could have received a multiyear deal as a free agent because of the lack of free-agent pitching options.

Buchholz’s option is for $13.5 million and included a $500,000 buyout, per Baseball-Reference.com. His tenure with the Red Sox has featured stretches of brilliance but has also been marred by bouts of inconsistency and injury. 

Since Buchholz’s first full season in 2008, he has never made 30 starts in a season. His single-season high in innings pitched is 189.1 during the 2012 campaign, though he’s failed to reach the 140-inning barrier each of the last two seasons. 

Things reached a point for Buchholz in 2016 in which Red Sox manager John Farrell moved him to the bullpen. He did finish the season strong and was able to make Boston’s playoff rotation, starting Game 3 of the American League Division Series against Cleveland

The Red Sox will be happy if there is a happy medium with Buchholz in 2017. They are fortunate to have more depth in the starting rotation. They should benefit from Rick Porcello’s 22-win form, David Price’s ability to do more than he offered in his first season with the team and, hopefully, a full year out of Eduardo Rodriguez.

Buchholz doesn’t have to be the star in the rotation anymore. He just has to provide the team with something around a league-average performance as the No. 4 or 5 option for manager John Farrell.

The Red Sox will rise or fall based on their loaded offense in 2017, but their pitching depth is going to play a key role in determining just how far the team is able to go with Buchholz being one of the great unknowns for Boston.

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Clay Buchholz Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation on Red Sox Pitcher

As MLB inches closer to its Aug. 1 trade deadline, Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz could find himself shipped out of town.

Continue for updates.

Buchholz Facing Trade While His Role Diminishes

Thursday, July 21

In a conversation with Rob Bradford of WEEI.com on Thursday, Buchholz revealed that he feels “like something has [to] be going on,” given his limited usage in July. 

On Thursday, Buchholz made his first appearance on the mound since July 2, pitching a scoreless ninth inning in the Red Sox’s 13-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.

He’s trudged through one of the worst seasons of his career with a 3-9 record to go with a 5.84 ERA in 2016.

His struggles and a logjam of starters, which got more crowded when the team acquired All-Star Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres, have seen him demoted from the starting rotation. 

If this is the way the team is going to be as far as the rotation part of it…I feel like the guys they’re rolling out there, I don’t have a spot. I’m the odd man out,” Buchholz told Bradford.

But his role as a reliever and his place on the team are also in jeopardy. According to ESPN.com’s Scott Lauber, reliever Junichi Tazawa is set to return from a right shoulder injury Friday, which makes Buchholz expendable.

Lauber also noted the Red Sox can’t demote Buchholz to the minors without his consent, which could have been the easiest option to open a spot in the bullpen for Tazawa. 

Instead, Buchholz will have to wait for a suitor to emerge and take him away from Fenway.

“I don’t necessarily think about it,” he said, per Bradford. “If it happens, it happens. There’s not a whole lot I can do about it on that side of it, except pitch whenever they call. I’m sure there are a lot of things that are going on. There might be another chapter. It is what it is. I’ll figure it out either way.”

With the rash of injuries some National League teams are facing to their pitching staffs, Buchholz could be an intriguing option. The Los Angeles Dodgers could be without ace Clayton Kershaw for the foreseeable future, as manager Dave Roberts told ESPN.com’s Doug Padilla the southpaw might need surgery. 

On the East Coast, the New York Mets lost Matt Harvey when he underwent season-ending surgery Monday, while Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz have been dealing with bone spurs, though they continue to pitch. 

Even though he isn’t having his best year, a team could add Buchholz for insurance purposes. A change of scenery could also do wonders for the 31-year-old as he looks to turn his season around and prove he can still be an effective starter in the majors. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Clay Buchholz Moved to Red Sox Bullpen: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Two-time American League All-Star Clay Buchholz will be removed from the starting rotation and placed in the bullpen, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell announced Friday, per NESN’s Zack Cox.

Farrell said the move was necessary after Buchholz’s poor start to the season, per Cox:

The bottom line is the results. And I think there’s been a strong precedent set. I can tell you that Clay understands the decision but probably doesn’t like it, which I can respect. But at the same time, I think the most important thing as we stand today is how he embraces this decision — how this change will work itself out.

Buchholz, 31, is struggling mightily this season. Through 10 starts, he is 2-5 with a 6.35 ERA. Considering that Boston’s offense leads the American League with 276 runs scored, the only person Buchholz can blame for his play is himself.

Newly acquired ace David Price went through similar struggles this season, but he has turned it around. After sporting an ERA of 6.75 through his first seven starts, Price has allowed only six runs in his last three starts combined, with his ERA dropping to 5.34. 

According to the Boston Globe‘s Pete Abraham, the Red Sox brass does not foresee the same type of improvement from Buchholz:

Price was luckier with his run support, as he is 7-1 on the year despite his struggles.

Eduardo Rodriguez, a 23-year-old lefty, will come off the disabled list and take Buchholz’s scheduled start Tuesday, per NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra.

As a rookie, Rodriguez was excellent in 2015. He posted a 10-6 record with a 3.85 ERA on a Boston team that finished last in the AL East.

It is unfortunate that Buchholz is regressing after a stellar career in Boston, but he should provide depth in the bullpen. Injuries are bound to happen, so if a Red Sox pitcher is forced to miss a start or two, Buchholz could come back with a vengeance and push himself back into the rotation.


All statistics are courtesy of ESPN.com. 

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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Jonathan Lucroy, Starlin Castro, Clay Buchholz

Free agency is hogging most MLB headlines with players eligible to sign with teams as early as Friday, but there is still plenty of buzz on potential trades that could contribute to the personnel shifts among the baseball landscape.

Here is a glance at the latest names rumored on the trade market in the young offseason.

Brewers Eyeing Rebuild Through Trades

The Milwaukee Brewers finished 26 games under .500 a year removed from a September meltdown that cost them the National League Central after leading the division for 159 days.

They are reportedly in a rebuild mode and have been linked to trade talks surrounding first baseman Adam Lind, catcher Jonathan Lucroy and closer Francisco Rodriguez, per Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine:

Lucroy is a career .282/.340/.430 hitter and is considered one of the best defensive backstops in the game with a .992 fielding percentage in six seasons. He spent time on the disabled list with a fractured toe in 2015 but has played an average of 118.3 games per year and was fourth in the NL MVP voting in 2014.

Despite speculation, general manager David Sterns indicated last week Lucroy should be back next year, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Rodriguez tied for seventh in the majors with 38 saves in 2015 despite the Brewers’ overall struggles. His velocity has steadily decreased from 94.4 miles per hour to 89.7 between 2007 and 2015, per FanGraphs, but he proved he’s still a threat in critical situations with only seven blown saves in parts of three seasons with Milwaukee. 

He’s scheduled to make $11.5 million the next two seasons, per Spotrac, for a team that had the 10th lowest payroll. If the Brewers aren’t winning many games, it may not be practical to keep that kind of financial commitment. 

On Adam Lind, the Brewers exercised the one-year, $8 million option on the first baseman Tuesday, though the team’s RBI leader could be a trade chip, as Olney noted. The Brewers tried moving Lind near the trade deadline last year, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, though talks eventually fell through with the St. Louis Cardinals.

General manager David Stearns hinted the team will be much younger in the coming years, per Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, though how it does so remains to be seen:

I think we recognize that we’re going to have a young roster, whether that’s this year, next year, the year after. We’re going to have a young group of core players for the foreseeable future, and we want to make sure that we surrounded them with members of a staff who are used to and comfortable with working with younger players.

Baseball America ranked the Brewers farm system 19th, which could prompt Stearns to deal a few veterans to free up cash and build a younger foundation to compete in the rugged NL Central, which featured three playoff teams in 2015.


Cubs Shopping Starlin Castro

With a crowded infield full of young and productive talent, the Chicago Cubs‘ Starlin Castro has been linked to trade talks as far back as the 2014 deadline.

A deal never manifested this past year due to Castro’s midseason struggles—he was benched for rookie Addison Russell at shortstop in early August, then became the team’s starting second baseman a week later and through the postseason. But given Castro’s strong finish to the regular season, the NLCS bridesmaids are reportedly shopping the infielder again, per Julie DiCaro of 670 The Score:


Castro hit .353/.373/.588 with six home runs, 23 RBI and just 18 strikeouts after his benching, and the Cubs went 30-17 in that span. His upward trend to finish the season should make him more marketable this offseason. 

Castro is also just 25, a three-time All-Star and has played in at least 150 games in four of the past five seasons. He’d be a valuable asset to most. 

The Cubs can fill Castro’s void with Javier Baez at second and could lean on Tommy La Stella as a backup utility infielder.  

Baez was also rumored in talks—with the San Diego Padres in July, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports—but he wouldn’t return as much as Castro and is locked up through 2020 at a convenient price, per Rotoworld

A realistic way Castro stays is if the Cubs are unable to re-sign outfielder Dexter Fowler, who became a free agent this week. Chicago could then move the versatile Baez to the outfield and keep Castro at second. But Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com noted that’s unlikely:

Fowler had a big second half, getting on-base about 39 percent of the time, leading to speculation he’ll get a long-term contract after earning $9.5 million last season. The Cubs have stated their offseason goals are to land more pitching, which might not leave room in the budget for Fowler’s return.

The Cubs are the early favorites to win it all in 2016, per Odds Shark, and they may start their hopeful run by dealing Castro to bulk up their roster in more needing areas.


Clay Buchholz Could Be Red Sox Trade Bait

The Boston Red Sox this week picked up the $13 million option on starting pitcher Clay Buchholz, but like the Brewers’ Lind, the move may have been executed to trade the veteran right-hander, per Ian Browne of MLB.com:

Buchholz would be a costly add given his limited return potential. He’s never made 30 starts or reached 200 innings in his nine-year career and has exceeded a 4.50 ERA in two of the last four seasons. 

But Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote some teams have already expressed interest in Buchholz behind closed doors:

Buchholz’s name is already rolling off the lips of some mid- to small-market teams who believe they could trade for him if the Red Sox have bigger fish to fry in pursuit of a true ace who can stay healthy.

The Red Sox are reportedly in the market to add an ace via trade or free agency this offseason, per Ricky Doyle of NESN.com, which could slide Buchholz to the back of the rotation and shadow what could be more limited contributions. 

Buchholz went 7-7 in 18 starts last year with a 3.26 ERA, 1.209 WHIP and 8.5 K/9 before being placed on the 15-, then 60-day disabled list in July, which he never returned from. 

One AL GM told Cafardo that when healthy, Buchholz is “as good as anyone out there.”

New president Dave Dombrowski will be as busy as any executive this offseason, and Buchholz may be a chip used to rid a sizable bill from the payroll while yielding a few younger players to build around. 

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MLB Trade Rumors: Breaking Down Buzz on Clay Buchholz and Starlin Castro

The MLB trade market may not really heat up until the big names in free agency are signed, sealed and delivered, but there are still rumors already making the rounds about several players.

Let’s break down some of the juicier buzz. 


Clay Buchholz, SP, Boston Red Sox

Clay Buchholz is an interesting case study. On one hand, he has the intellect and the stuff to be an ace for the Boston Red Sox. But the 31-year-old’s long injury history has prevented him from reaching that status.

And that has teams around baseball wondering if Buchholz could be had for the right price.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, “Buchholz’s name is already rolling off the lips of some mid- to small-market teams who believe they could trade for him if the Red Sox have bigger fish to fry in pursuit of a true ace who can stay healthy.”

An unnamed American League general manager broke down the conundrum of bringing aboard Buchholz, via Cafardo:

Everyone is aware of his history, and the potential that he won’t make 80 percent of his starts, but for the price, a lot of teams will make inquiries to Boston about him.

Everyone knows the frustration level he brings, but we all know how good he can be also. He’s reaching that age where he’s learned how to pitch. Sometimes a player or pitcher gets a lot of injuries in the first half of their careers because they haven’t figured out what they need to do to stay healthy. There’s always the hope that Buchholz figures that all out.

If he can, he’s as good as anyone out there.

Buchholz went 7-7 with a 3.26 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 107 strikeouts in 113.1 innings pitched and 18 starts. The two-time All-Star has pitched 170 or more innings just three times in his career. 

The Red Sox don’t need to trade him, of course. After picking up his $13 million option on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN), the team could look to pick up a more reliable ace on the market like David Price or Zack Greinke and keep Buchholz to build a top-tier pitching staff.

Money might become an issue in that case, however, and moving Buchholz could free up funds and bring the Sox a nice young player or two in the process. 


Starlin Castro, 2B, Chicago Cubs

Starlin Castro has the very unfortunate case of being a good player who simply may not have a future in Chicago. The Cubs appear to have the middle of the infield locked down for years to come with Addison Russell and Javier Baez, making Castro the team’s best trade chip.

And, once again, they may look to cash in on it, according to Julie DiCaro of 670 The Score:

Of course, the Cubs have options. One particular option they’ve reportedly discussed, to make room for the trio of Castro, Russell and Baez is to move the young Baez to the outfield, according to Tony Andracki of CSN Chicago.

“The overriding policy is the more versatility, the better,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told Andracki, and manager Joe Maddon has never been accused of conventional thinking, so a move to the outfield for Baez seems possible.

Plus, he played all four infield positions during the regular season for the team, so he certainly seems to have the versatility and athleticism to make the move.

In that case, Castro would likely have a place—at least in the short term—at second base. He played well for the team this season, hitting .265 with 11 home runs and 69 RBI, giving the Cubs a nice bat to go along with the big boppers, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

On the other hand, the Cubs have a wealth of young talent in the outfield, too, so the wise choice might be to simply move a player like Castro and upgrade a bigger need, like adding more quality arms to the rotation. 

Regardless, the team has options. And one of the most likely options still seems to be moving Castro in a trade.


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Clay Buchholz’s Ominous Injury Threatens to Kill Red Sox’s Momentum

The initial removal was discouraging.

The initial diagnosis was frightening.

The outlook for the Boston Red Sox is back to ugly.

Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox’s top pitcher during a season in which their pitching has been nearly nonexistent, was removed from Friday night’s start against the New York Yankees, the team his team is chasing in the American League East.

At the time, it was just more bad news for a Red Sox team that entered the contest four games below .500, a fortunate 5.5 games out of first place and doing everything to not live up to offseason expectations that had them in the postseason.

Minutes after Buchholz was removed, an early diagnosis was announced. For a pitcher, or anyone who has paid even mild attention to baseball trends in the past few years, it was the type that makes one shudder.

Manager John Farrell told reporters Buchholz was feeling “some tightness, some stiffness in the elbow area.” An MRI was scheduled for after the game.

Reactions were similar all across the baseball universe.

In this era the phrase “elbow tightness,” or any relative of it, elicits that kind of response. The plague of Tommy John surgeries is the reason.

Too often that is how the diagnosis starts. A tight elbow. A strained forearm. Any kind of discomfort in that general area.

And then, bang! Some poor pitcher is done for a calendar year, give or take, and his team is left to pick up the pieces of its immediate future, while the player worries about his long-term one.

For now, until we know more about what ails Buchholz, the first concern is how the Red Sox will fare if the 30-year-old has to go on the disabled list.

The Red Sox eventually lost Friday’s game at Fenway Park. It dropped them to 6.5 games behind the first-place Yankees, and their standing in the Wild Card race is even more discouraging, since they’d have to leap over eight teams to land the second spot.

Boston went into this series having won eight of its previous 10 games, shaving 3.5 games from its division deficit in the process. It also became the final major league team to have a winning streak of at least four games.

That surge was exactly what the brass needed to see before the All-Star break if it was going to declare, at least internally, that the team would buy rather than sell at the July 31 trade deadline.

Alex Speier of the Boston Globe even wrote Thursday, “So, they’re buyers, right?” 

But that was assuming the Red Sox would have a healthy Buchholz, who has by far been the team’s best starting pitcher. He went into Friday’s start having won four consecutive decisions, and over his previous 10 starts he had a 1.99 ERA. That is quite the turnaround from his first seven, when he had a 5.73 ERA.

Entering Friday, Buchholz had a 3.27 ERA and 2.54 FIP for the year. His FIP was third-lowest in the league.

With Buchholz, the Red Sox’s rotation is last in the AL with a 4.73 ERA. Without him, it might be the worst baseball has to offer.

So, if Buchholz is out for any significant length of time because of this “elbow tightness,” they are sellers, right? Well, the thing is, they don’t really have anything to sell if they can’t sell Buchholz, because parting with their youth should be a no-no.

Oh, the irony.

The Red Sox hold club options for Buchholz for the next two seasons that would total $26.5 million. Those options, especially if he performs like he has recently, are part of what makes him so appealing to buying teams. He would be a top-of-the-rotation starter at a bargain price.

Now, if Buchholz’s injury is anything remotely serious, he carries no trade value at this deadline. Whether it was winning or losing, he is the player Boston could least afford to lose because he was either carrying it into contention or because he could bring back a strong return in a trade.

From a team standpoint, this forces the Red Sox’s hand one way or the other. If Buchholz is out, they cannot seriously contend for a postseason spot because the rest of their pitching is abysmal.

In order to remain relevant, the team has to be aggressive on the trade market. That means engaging teams about Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and whoever else is out there. But even with one of them and no Buchholz, Boston’s chances are slim.

Opting not to go that route leaves one other option: punting the season.

What is known for certain is the Red Sox will have to decide shortly after the All-Star break, and how they finish this series against the Yankees and come out of the break against the Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros will be the deciding factor.

For now, they remain in limbo.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired firsthand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball.

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