Could a healthy Clay Buchholz jump start the Phillies rotation in 2017?
Another move that the Phillies make that has you wondering, why?
Would you like to sign a top tier pitcher for your rotation? Sure, any day of the week. But what the Phillies did in signing Clay Buchholz away from the Boston Red Sox is pickup a pitcher who is in the final year of his contract, and has disappointed the Boston Red Sox fans majorly for the past couple seasons.
Clay Buchholz has been with the Boston Red Sox for 10 years, perhaps the best years of his pitching career. Early on Buchholz looked like he was going to be the real deal. In 2010, Buchholz went 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA, that was the numbers that earned him a 7-year $56M deal from the Red Sox at that time. In 2013, Clay was an All-Star with a 12-1 record.
Fast forward to near the end of the contract, now there is one more year left at $13.5M and the Phillies went out and took Buchholz, rescuing the Red Sox from the 2017 Luxury Tax and adding a big salary to the Phillies rotation.
Red Sox fans took to social media, and as we know, social media can be misleading at times, but the general consensus was that many were happy to see Buchholz go.
Scott Lauber, ESPN staff writer who covers the Red Sox, wrote, “Look, Buchholz is hardly irreplaceable. He went 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA in 2016. He got booted to the bullpen in May, went 19 days without pitching in July, and looked like a surefire candidate to be traded or, worse, designated for assignment.” But Lauber summed up that it was a salary dump that the Red Sox wouldn’t be better because of it, “But on Dec. 20, the only valid reason for the Red Sox to trade 10-year veteran Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies — for a Class A infielder, no less — is to guarantee they shed his $13.5 million salary from the 2017 payroll in order to stay below the $195 million luxury-tax threshold and avoid paying a 40-50 percent tax on their overages.” Read the Lauber ESPN article here.
So, the Phillies get a guy who use to be very good, spending a whopping $13.5M to see if he can find some of that magic again. This move is like a river boat gambler who is hoping to draw a third ace in his hands in my opinion. It’s hardly the type of move that is a solid foundation for a rebuild. Or it is in response to the Phillies low spending on salaries prior to getting Buchholz and Kendrick, the Phillies would have had close to the lowest payroll in the league. Going out and doing some spending at least makes the team look decent from a salary spending prospective.
Maybe Phillies GM Matt Klentak is remembering Buchholz from his post college days at Dartmouth and this signing is like a trophy signing to him? Whatever the reason, the two acquisitions that he’s made and spent a lot of money on for 2017 in Buchholz and Kendrick don’t make any sense as far as the future is concerned, the signings are for one year.
Maybe being that it is a contract year, Buchholz will rebound from his last three years in Boston where is was a middle of the road type of pitcher. Boston surely couldn’t unload Buchholz in the hot stove action a couple weeks ago and the Phillies didn’t get him for nothing, they have to pay his full salary and traded a prospect for him.