The Red Sox have some important pitching changes in the works, as Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports on Twitter. Manager John Farrell says that the club will activate lefty Eduardo Rodriguez to start on Tuesday, with veteran right-hander Clay Buchholz bumped to the pen.
It’s been a long wait for Rodriguez, who has missed the first two months of the season while working back from a knee issue. He showed immense promise last year, and was expected to hold down a rotation spot for the foreseeable future.
Of course, expectations never were that he’d be taking the ball from Buchholz. That move may not last the rest of the season, but it’s a major step for a pitcher whose last major league relief appearance came in his sophomore season of 2008.
Shifting to a relief role also speaks volumes about where things stand with regard to Buchholz’s 2017 club option, which is valued at $13.5MM and comes with a $500K buyout. It seemed reasonably likely to be picked up heading into the year, but Buchholz has managed only a 6.35 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 over his first ten starts.
That’s a steep drop-off from Buchholz’s work last year and most of the rest of his ten-year MLB career. If he can’t turn things around during the 2016 season, he could end up looking for a make-good free agent opportunity come next fall.