When MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith mentioned Clay Buchholz as an extension candidate last September, Ben noted that Buchholz's rotation mate Jon Lester was a close comparable. Buchholz himself apparently agrees with the comparison, as he told WEEI.com's Alex Speier that he would appreciate a multiyear deal akin to the five-year, $30MM pact that Lester signed with the Red Sox before the 2009 season, or the similar extensions signed by Ricky Romero in Toronto and Yovani Gallardo in Milwaukee.
“I think that would definitely be a base model for it — numbers-wise, security reasons, I think every player with less than three years of service time, that’s what they strive for,” said Buchholz. “I’m not saying I’m as good as Lester or I deserve what he got, but just from the other guys who signed their deal in the past year or so with the same service, I think that’s definitely a good starting point if there ever was one.”
The Sox haven't approached Buchholz about an extension this winter, and if the team waits until sometime during or after the 2011 season to explore a long-term deal, another strong season from Buchholz could make his extension more expensive than the deals signed by Lester, Gallardo or Romero. There's no question Boston can afford to extend the right-hander, but doing so sooner rather than later might save the team an extra $5-10MM on a contract. Buchholz will be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season.