The Red Sox have exercised their club option on righty Clay Buchholz, the club announced. He’ll cost the club $13MM next year and also comes with one more season of control via option (at $13.5MM).
Buchholz, 31, endured a rough 2014 campaign but bounced back nicely last season, posting a 3.26 ERA over 113 1/3 innings with 8.5 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9. That performance largely made the option decision an easy one, except that — as the innings tally would indicate — the righty again experienced injury issues.
It appears that Boston feels comfortable with the status of Buchholz’s right elbow. He dealt with a flexor strain late in the year, but the club did have a good chance to watch him work as he contemplated a return. Though Buchholz ultimately did not make it back to active duty, he obviously showed enough.
There’s at least some possibility that the Red Sox will entertain trade offers for Buchholz, as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe discussed yesterday. Boston has a lot of rotation options, even as they consider adding a big arm at the top, and might consider swapping Buchholz or one of the club’s younger pitchers. Indeed, one GM says that he expects plenty of clubs would have keen interest in adding Buchholz at that price, even in spite of his injury issues.
Of course, the Red Sox can afford not only to keep Buchholz but also to take a chance on his health. That’s all the more true precisely because of the aforementioned depth. Adding an “ace,” then, wouldn’t necessarily mean that the club needs to deal away the veteran righty. But it’s certainly plausible to imagine him being shipped out as part of a broader restructuring of assets.