The Boston Red Sox have decided to move on from the oldest pitcher in their starting rotation.
On Tuesday, the Red Sox traded right-hander Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for minor league second baseman Josh Tobias. Buchholz, 32, has spent his entire 10-year career with the Red Sox. He will now have to adjust to pitching in a different city with a new team next season.
This trade comes two weeks after the Red Sox traded four prospects to the Chicago White Sox for All-Star pitcher Chris Sale. At the time of the Sale trade, Boston’s starting rotation already included David Price, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright, Drew Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez and Buchholz. With Sale joining this star-studded rotation, it made sense to try and deal one of these pitchers. The logical candidates to be traded were Pomeranz and Buchholz. Whichever one of these two players was not traded would be the Red Sox fifth starter.
Buchholz made more sense to trade because of how much money he is owed for next season. Earlier in the offseason, the Red Sox picked up the $13.5 million option on his contract for the 2017 season. He will be a free agent after next year. From the Red Sox perspective, this trade with the Phillies was just an opportunity to dump Buchholz’s salary. By trading him, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has eliminated a large salary from the team’s 2017 payroll.
The Phillies are clearly in rebuilding mode, but Buchholz will still be a nice addition to the team’s starting rotation. His veteran presence will definitely be helpful to a young Phillies team. Although Buchholz has struggled to be consistent over the past few seasons, he is still a two-time All-Star who has had a few good seasons. Back in 2010, he went 17-7 with an a 2.33 ERA. He finished sixth in AL Cy Young Award voting that season. In 2013, he was a part of the Red Sox team that won the World Series. Even though Buchholz has never really been considered an ace, he has the reputation of being a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy.
Next season however, there is a chance that Buchholz will be the ace of the Phillies. His main competition for that role will be Jeremy Hellickson. It will all depend on how both players perform in spring training. Ultimately, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin will make the decision when he names his Opening Day starter.
This trade made sense for both sides. The Red Sox were able to get rid of a pitcher that they no longer need, while dumping a large salary in the process. The Phillies acquired a veteran pitcher who can help mentor their young players next year. Both teams will benefit from this trade next season.