Right off the bat, the Red Sox front office start the offseason with a good move. In fact, it’s such an obviously correct move, I almost have a hard time giving them credit for it.
What did they do? They picked up Clay Buchholz’s $13 million option. Oh sure. I know what you’re thinking. He’s always hurt. He’s so frustrating. You can’t depend on him. He’ll never make it through a full season. He’s gutless.
All of those may, or may not, be true. But there’s one reason why this was a no-brainer.
Last offseason the Red Sox signed Masterson to a one-year deal. There wasn’t a ton expected from him. But, he had shown flashes of effectiveness in the past, and there was a hope he could do it again. With that in mind, the Sox went into in with low expectations. He wasn’t promised a starting role at the time, and ended up only starting half the games he appeared in for the Sox. He was a true shot in the dark, so the Sox gave him a contract that was actually lower than what he played for the year before.
They gave him $9.5 million.
There’s your comparison. A fifth starter/long reliever looking to regain some respect got $9.5 million to not pitch very well in 18 games for the Sox.
Buchholz, on the other hand, is coming off a season where he made 18 starts for the Sox, to a tune of a 3.26 ERA. Yeah, that was the lowest of all the Red Sox starting pitchers.
A simple comparison of Masterson’s 60 innings of 5.61 ERA to Buchholz’s 113 innings on 3.26 ERA makes it an obvious choice.
And that’s before considering any sort of “potential.” Oh, sure, most people are tired of waiting for Clay to be the ace his talent says he should be. But, those people ignore the fact that he’s already sort of done it. He was an all-star a couple times. He’s pitched over 170 innings three times. His season ERA has been under 3.50 as often as it’s been over it.
No. Those are not “ace” numbers. But, they’re not a guy who has the talent but never put it all together. He has the talent, and has put it together…just not all the time. There’s a difference.
But, as I said, this was a good move even without counting all that. Even if you get the 2015 Clay Buchholz again, he’s worth $13 million. If you’re the type of person who wants the Sox to go get a true ace, you’re only looking at Clay to be, what, the #4 starter behind ace, Porcello, and Miley? Sure, he’s taking up a spot that could be filled by a kid. But, remember when you said Clay doesn’t make it through a season? There’s the chance to get the kids back in. Or, there’s your chance to trade some of the kids. Who knows?
The only thing that matters is that picking up his option was a good idea. It’s a cost effective way to secure a talented starter who will give you at least the production you got last year from a guy you were paying almost as much for. The Sox couldn’t not pick him up.
Even if it’s only to trade him to the NL.