Clay Buchholz: Extension Candidate

If the Red Sox want to extend Clay Buchholz this winter, there's one comparable pitcher they just won't be able to avoid. Whether they like it or not, Jon Lester's five-year $30MM extension will be a model of sorts for any extension discussions with Buchholz. 

Both pitch in Fenway Park against the tough American League East and both authored no-hitters early on in their respective careers. As the table below shows, Buchholz's current career numbers are similar to the ones Lester had when he signed long-term:

Ricky Romero and Yovani Gallardo had comparable numbers at similar stages in their careers and both signed for about $30MM over five years. The Red Sox are no doubt aware of the similarities between Lester and Buchholz and surely realize that locking up Buchholz for five years will cost about $30MM. The team has also committed to Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett and John Lackey, so they may be reluctant to commit tens of millions more to a starting pitcher.

But if the Red Sox are ready to invest, Buchholz seems interested in striking a deal. Back in May, he told Alex Speier of that he would "love" to sign with the Red Sox long-term. We should find out early in 2011 if Theo Epstein and the Red Sox front office want to commit to the right-hander and make a deal.

28 Responses to Clay Buchholz: Extension Candidate Leave a Reply

  1. He’s been the most consistent pitcher for the Red Sox this year and is in the top 3 for best pitchers in the AL. The Sox HAVE to sign him to a long term contract. Buchholz and Lester are going to be one and two for the Red Sox for the next 4 years.

  2. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Clay Bucholz is having an unbelievable year. I still say Felix wins the Cy Young…But I wonder what numbers Clay would have had if he hadn’t gotten hurt mid-season…

    Again, the Red Sox have some kind of future rotation…Beckett, Lester, Bucholz, Kelly, and Lackey…my goodness.

    I guess Lester’s contract would have to be the only comparable. I can’t think of another pitcher who got locked up with this little service time and such a good season. We’lll see.

    I actually like the Brett Anderson contract as a comparable. Maybe that could get Clay Bucholz locked up.

    • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

      My bet is Hernandez doesn’t get CY Young simply because of his record, but discard win/loss he’s the best of the field right now. I was rooting for Cahill until a couple of nights ago and frankly he’s gotten so little attention. Buchholz probably won’t get it because of the lack of strikeouts and the lack of innings because he was injured for a while. If Sabathia wins it it’ll be because of his record. Lester has a had a few bad starts recently so he’s out. I’d say the best picks in the AL right now are Wilson or Price with Price being the favorite.

      And I doubt Buchholz would accept 4yrs/$12.5M. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him offered something similar to Lester’s 5yrs/$30M

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        It’s just hard to give it to someone with 25% less IP as you said…Which is why I also like C.J. and Price. I have a quick story for you that I know you’ll like more than most. You know my love for the A’s…So the past 3 nights I’ve been at Yankee Stadium cherring on the A’s (Yes I’ve been ridiculed by Yankee fans day in and day out) and I madeabout 10 different signs for the A’s players and especially the ones that know me. So I made one for Trevor that said “Trevor time for Cy Young”. Well he liked it, so did Ron Romanick and some other A’s relievers and players…But I obviously jinxed him. I really wanted to see an under the radar pitcher (not thrower) like him win the Cy Young but it’s not going to happen now….Especially with his IP and lack of K’s.

        • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

          So you’re the jerk who jinxed him. Heh.

          I think it’s amazing how much Cahill improved this year, last year he was one of the easiest starters to get on base against… this year he has one of the lowest WHIPs in the league. If he improves again next year it’ll be hard to ignore him.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Yeah really. The whole A’s rotation is really learning how to pitch. Love them.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Yeah really. The whole A’s rotation is really learning how to pitch. Love them.

    • “I guess Lester’s contract would have to be the only comparable. I can’t think of another pitcher who got locked up with this little service time and such a good season.”

      Never heard of Cole Hamels, eh? And he actually won a World Series to boot.

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        Actually, nice comparison. You’re right.

  3. $1529282 5 years ago

    I’m just not sold on Buchholz whatsoever. Sure he has a nice ERA, but his FIP and xFIP are both well over a run higher than his ERA, he only strikes out 6.2/9, he doesn’t have stellar control (3.38 BB/9), and I don’t see any way he sustains a nearly-80% strand rate or 5.9% HR/FB. I think he’s more a product of his .260 BABIP and unsustainable strand and HR/FB rates than a legitimate Cy Young candidate.

    I do think he’s a good pitcher, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think he’s in the same class as Lester, and I certainly don’t think his ERA is ever going to be this good again. He can certainly be a quality MLB starter, there’s no doubt about that, but I don’t think it’s necessary to extend him this soon unless it’s for a VERY low price.

    • jwredsox 5 years ago

      Agree 100% as a Sox fan. Was about to post the same thing except that he can’t be a great pitcher. He added a slider to his arsenal and just needs to strike more guys out. He can’t sustain this success with a K/9 at 6.2 but he can with a K/9 closer to 8.

  4. 04Forever 5 years ago

    If Clay signed the same deal as Lester I can live with it. Lester is worth 10 times the contract he signed, so even if Clay isnt as good (some argue he can be better then Lester though) then the deal still is about fair. I say sign him now while you can get him on the cheap, I think he would be glad to finally know for sure he is in the teams plans

  5. coachofall 5 years ago

    Lester is the only sure thing of the group. Really like Bucholtz but there is no reason to lock him up this off season, let next year play out then bring out your checkbook, I think it will be worth the gamble to wait. Lackey, Beckett, aren’t going anywhere and neither are their contracts. Those were bad deals the day they were offered have a feeling that in 1 1/2 years they are going to look/feel a lot like the Mike Lowell deal

    • Guest 5 years ago

      I have to agree with you 100%. The Red Sox have the payroll and could easily sign Buchholz to an extension. While I agree with MorneauVP above as well, and I think some question marks still remain with Buchholz, a manageable 3 years for $20mm would make a lot of sense. Probably would be one of the better moves the Sox could make. Only problem however is they just allocated a lot of that valuable cash to extend Beckett and sign Lackey. Neither move great by any means considering the price. I’m interested to see how the Sox handle this one.

      • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

        Well the Sox have Lugo and Lowell coming off the payroll for next year, that’s $21M. And this is a team that can easily spend.

      • leberquesgue 5 years ago

        No way they do a 3-year contract. Red Sox management has a policy for young players that a long-term deal must buy out at least one year of free agency. Of course, they’ve broken their rules in the past, but I really don’t see why they would do that here. Your suggestion makes little sense to me.

  6. hawkny1 5 years ago

    There is nothing unbelievable about Buchholz’s performance in 2010. He has figured out his mechanics, learned how to set hitters up, and, generally, has acquired the maturity he lacked in previous years. Her does not try to overpower batters nor does he rely on just his fastball when deep into counts. Theo will lock him up, if, for no other reason, than to make Clay feel he is a valuable a commodity to the Red Sox organization as, say, Pedroia and Youk are.

  7. johnsilver 5 years ago

    No reason to not use Lester’s 5/30M contract as a model. If Bucholz repeats his numbers in 2011, the price will go way up to sign him to any kind of extension and odds are that his numbers in 2011 will not decrease very substantially, it is smart business sense by a deep pocketed team not being cheap, unlike some other teams out there that let top flight starters prices get out of control and Epstein trys his best not to do that early on when even if they don’t pan out 100%, the total cost for “hits” is more than enough to make up for it.

    The key is buying out at least 1 year of FA, hopefully at least 1-2 team option years also included.

  8. TwinsVet 5 years ago

    Are there durability concerns with Clay, based on his Lincecum-like frame? I don’t know if I subscribe to that theory, but I’ve heard it said…

    • rickjimbo 5 years ago

      i kind of thought similarly earlier this year but for the past month and a half i have noticed him filling his frame out quite a bit. maybe it’s just his demeanor but he looks like he is turning into a bit of a beast. lock.him.up

    • He may have the same kind of frame but the major thing is is that Clay doesn’t have the herky-jerky delivery. So most likely Clay won’t run into injuries and decreasing velocity like Lincecum (he hasn’t been injured yet but it’s really only a matter of time).

    • jwredsox 5 years ago

      No. Durability is a problem in the way Lincecum throws the ball, not his frame. Buchholz has a throwing motion that puts a lot less strain on his arm.

  9. BoSoXaddict 5 years ago

    I could see the Sox extending Buchholz in the offseason if he’d take a Lester deal. But I think it’s probably more likely that they would wait till at least the middle of next season.

  10. woadude 5 years ago

    The Sox can extend him by giving him the money they dont have to pay Julio Lugo anymore…it will be the wisest thing they did all year…I still scratch my head at Lackey for 5 years, he is a bad luck pitcher and I knew the signing was going to be bad, but i didnt know is ERA was going to be 4 plus, he usually loses a game by one fluky inning. and I bet Matsuzaka’s days are numbered…I bet they trade him to the Mariners for some prospects or package of some sorts, him and Ichiro would be happy together losing 100 plus games a year

    • jwredsox 5 years ago

      why the hell would the Sox trade Dice K? Red Sox “fans” hate the guy but tell me what is wrong with guy with a 4.19 ERA and a 3.96 FIP (3.36 ERA outside of his 1st 4 starts) making 10mil a year? Which is pretty cheap for a starter like him. Yes he walks guys, yes he can be infuriating, but that is who he is.

    • $1529282 5 years ago

      Why do so many people assume it’s just going to be that easy to trade Dice-K? He has massive durability problems, hasn’t lived up to his hype at all, has $20MM remaining on his deal, and has a full no-trade clause.

      Seriously, so many people just throw out the “Oh they’ll just trade Dice-K” scenario without doing any research or giving it a second thought. Matsuzaka is not going anywhere.

      • jwredsox 5 years ago

        Dice K isn’t going anywhere because the Sox won’t trade him. He wouldn’t have been a guy that would be hard to move (outside of NTC) at the deadline. Especially for an NL team.

  11. rahhhh

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