For starters, I was never as down on Clay as many others were. Sure, it was frustrating at times when he was injured. But, everyone gets injured. Dustin Pedroia has missed huge chinks of time before. It happens. Sure, he sometimes had rough games. But, he also had really good games. Some people didn't care for his post game interviews. I didn't really care about them. Telling the truth is never a bad thing in my book.
But, even beyond my personal feelings, I thought the Red Sox liked Clay. Especially at his contract. His number on the field have almost always been better than the numbers on his contract. I always thought that was a good thing. Exactly the sort of value the Red Sox would be looking for. Especially since they just picked up his option not that long ago.
So, to see them send him off in a salary dump for a 24-year old guy in A-ball seemed weird. Now, maybe things have changed since they picked up the option. Maybe if they had to do it all over again knowing what they now know, they would have just passed in the first place. Maybe they figure getting a warm body is better than not. Maybe the luxury tax thing is a huge deal to them, instead of a minor annoyance.
But, it also seems to me that the Sox could still use Clay. For one thing, he looked like a pretty good option out of the pen last season.That could be a weapon if developed properly. Or, who knows when you'll need another experienced pitcher for a spot start. I didn't think that his contract was big enough to stop the Red Sox from keeping him around for uses like that.
Because, sure fans were tired of him. Sure fans can irrationally harp on the weirdest things sometimes. Sure they can go on and on about trust issues, or performance anxiety. But, the Sox don't usually care about that.
So, if the Sox had gotten a prospect back, that would be one thing. Something to restock their cache of prospects they lost in the other deals. Even if that meant eating some of the salary. That was the move I was expecting. Or, adding him to a package to get a better deal. That's where I saw him going.
But, just as a flat out 100% salary dump? That one surprises me.
Now, if you tell me that the salary dump is a really important move? If this trade frees you up to do all sorts of things this year and/or in the future? If you mean it? I can go along with ridding the team of someone who didn't have a real role in order to do it.
But, on the surface, I think the Red Sox would have been a better team with Clay around than they are without him.
The move was a bit of a surprise.