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Clay Buchholz Rumors
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein told John Dennis and Dale Arnold that the Red Sox can surrender prospects in the right trade. Speaking on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show, Epstein said Boston’s farm system remains strong even after giving up a significant haul for Adrian Gonzalez in the offseason.
"Don't think we're limited just because we made a trade last winter," Epstein said.
But Boston’s most important reinforcements may not arrive in trades. Epstein said the Red Sox aren’t going to do better than injured starter Clay Buchholz on the trade market.
"If you ask me what player do I want out there on this club in all of baseball, if I could name one guy to acquire for this team, it would be just a healthy Clay Buchholz and I think we're going to have that,” Epstein said.
In terms of offense, Josh Reddick has a .378/.432/.671 line 95 plate appearances into the season, so the Red Sox will continue working him into the lineup. Epstein says he and manager Terry Francona intend to give "the best players a chance to impact the game."
John Tomase from the Boston Herald has some notes about several Major League topics in his latest article:
- Tomase reminds us that at the 2009 deadline, the Red Sox reportedly offered the Mariners any five of the following prospects in exchange for Felix Hernandez: Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Josh Reddick, Yamaico Navarro, Nick Hagadone, Felix Doubront, and Justin Masterson. While a Boston official disputed the specific names, Tomase says the reports were in the ballpark.
- Regarding a trade though, Tomase quotes King Felix himself as saying that he wants to stay in Seattle: "I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m not trying to think about it. I’d love to stay here (with the Mariners). I’m part of Seattle now and I’d like to be in Seattle."
- San Diego's Anthony Rizzo, acquired in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, is off to a blazing start at Triple-A. Rizzo has posted a monstrous line of .400/.471/.744 with seven homers, eight doubles, and a triple through 102 PAs, but despite that production the Padres aren't giving up on Brad Hawpe yet. Manager Bud Black cites Hawpe's career success, but it'll be hard to ignore his .149/.194/.194 line much longer.
- Manny Ramirez's abrupt retirement had many questioning a Rays' lineup that was struggling to score runs, but as Tomase points out, the Rays have gone 14-5 since Manny called it quits. The Rays were 0-6 with Manny on board.
Tomase's article also features several more quotes from Felix on his appreciation for Seattle as well and is a good read all-around.
After extending Adrian Gonzalez this week, the Red Sox have guaranteed nearly $300MM to their two big offseason acquisitions, Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. However, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, some baseball people feel that Jayson Werth would have made more sense for the Sox than Crawford. One AL GM says he's "not sure that many of us are unhappy they chose Crawford over Werth," adding that Werth seemed to be a better fit for Boston's lefty-heavy lineup. Here are the rest of the highlights from Cafardo's Sunday Notes:
- The Red Sox may not have even been in on Crawford or Werth this winter if they had re-signed Jason Bay a year earlier. A National League GM calls Bay leaving Boston "one of the worst decisions both by a team and by the player," suggesting that both sides miss each other.
- According to Cafardo, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers was willing to deal Justin Upton to the Red Sox in the offseason, but only if he got the Adrian Gonzalez package or Clay Buchholz in return.
- Several teams have spoken to Omar Minaya about potential job openings. Minaya, who dubs himself a "free agent," says he's still sorting through everything and searching for the best fit, but he could make a decision soon.
- Cafardo points out that spending time on the disabled list could cost Takashi Saito a good chunk of money this season. Currently on the shelf with a hamstring injury, Saito can earn up to five $100K bonuses based on time spent on the active roster.
Links for Monday, as Angels number two prospect Tyler Chatwood prepares for his big league debut against the first place Indians…
- The Red Sox were non-negotiable on getting two club options on Clay Buchholz's contract, reports Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Buchholz explained, "If it was me and I didn’t have a wife and a kid that I had to take care of, it might have been a decision that we would have thought about a little bit more."
- Teams are locking up their best players earlier and placing increased emphasis on club options, writes Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, and the result may be that "the best players in the game are going to be significantly underpaid during their primes," while the free agent market could become even more inflated.
- Reliever Duaner Sanchez signed with the Long Island Ducks, the team announced. Sanchez hasn't pitched in the Majors since May of '09, his career derailed by a July '06 taxi cab accident. His Ducks teammates include Ruddy Lugo, J.R. House, Lew Ford, and John Rodriguez.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star writes about how Royals owner David Glass changed his tightfisted ways upon hiring Dayton Moore as GM about five years ago. Glass won't rule out keeping his talented wave of top prospects together on long-term deals "regardless of who their agent is."
- Baseball America links: Conor Glassey chatted with potential top draft pick Anthony Rendon, while J.J. Cooper lists the youngest players in every league.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has details on the iPads Carl Crawford's agent Brian Peters distributed as a promotional tool early in the outfielder's free agency. Though GM Theo Epstein said the iPad didn't change his evaluation of Crawford, he was compelled to return the favor with some Red Sox Beats By Dre headphones. First Dr. Dre mention in MLBTR history?
5:08pm: Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com has the breakdown (on Twitter). Buchholz will earn $3.5MM in 2012, $5.5MM in 2013, $7.7MM in 2014, and $12MM in 2015. The two club options are worth $13MM and $13.5MM respectively.
3:45pm: The Red Sox announced that they have signed Clay Buchholz to a four-year contract extension in a press release. The deal is worth $29.945MM with a pair of club options, making it comparable to the contract signed by teammate Jon Lester a few years ago. Ben Nicholson-Smith looked at Buchholz as an extension candidate back in September.
Boston bought out all three of Buchholz's arbitration-eligible years plus one year of free agency with the contract. The club options cover two more free agent years, and the Red Sox saved approximately $1.6MM against the luxury tax by announcing the deal after the season started. Yovani Gallardo and Ricky Romero are two other young pitchers that have signed similar contracts in recent years.
Buchholz, 26, broke out in a big way last season, pitching to a 2.33 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 173 2/3 innings (28 starts). He earned his first All-Star Game nod and finished sixth in the Cy Young Award voting thanks to the second lowest ERA in the AL. Fielding independent pitching metrics say he wasn't quite that good as that ERA indicates, but a 3.61 FIP is certainly impressive on its own.
Lester's deal has proven to be a tremendous bargain for Boston so far, which is the level of success the Sox hope to achieve with Buchholz's deal. Boston now has five starting pitchers under contract through 2012 and four under contract through 2013.
The Red Sox beat the Cardinals in Florida today even though they allowed seven runs. Here are the latest updates on the BoSox, with an emphasis on the team's pitching staff…
- The Red Sox announced that they agreed to terms with 15 pre-arbitration eligible players including Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard. Buchholz was an extension candidate and he discussed a potential multiyear deal with the Red Sox, but they haven't agreed on one so far.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears from a scout that Josh Beckett "looks like he's on [a] mission" and that his pitches are looking good (Twitter link).
- Tim Wakefield told Kirk Minihane of WEEI.com that he can't envision playing elsewhere. "Why would I? I've been here for so long, why would I go somewhere else?" Wakefield asked. He first suited up for the Red Sox in 1995.
The latest on the Red Sox, as John Lackey prepares for his second Spring Training start…
- Though Adrian Gonzalez and the Red Sox have not resumed contract talks since the weekend they traded for him, there is an understanding that a seven-year deal at around $22MM per year will get it done, writes ESPN's Buster Olney. Gonzalez has said a couple of times that there's no pre-set agreement in place, but his agent John Boggs and Sox president Larry Lucchino both expect a deal.
- Regarding a potential multiyear extension, Clay Buchholz told WEEI's Kirk Minihane, "I think we've talked a little bit about it but there's nothing." Buchholz likes the five-year, $30MM deals signed by Jon Lester, Yovani Gallardo, and Ricky Romero, but perhaps the Red Sox need to see more. Buchholz's numbers are comparable to those players, but for a team there is a lot that goes into the decision beyond the stats.
- Manager Terry Francona explained to ESPN's Gordon Edes that he's thinking about the long-term with lefty Andrew Miller (Twitter link). The Red Sox were able to get a unique contract approved for Miller with the aim of subverting the option system, with a $3MM club option that vests for 2012 if he's claimed by another team. On one hand, the Commissioner's Office allowed this clause at first pass. Still, I've spoken to a few execs who think the Red Sox won't get away with it if Miller is actually claimed.
- Red Sox players are meeting today with Players' Association executive director Michael Weiner as well as several special assistants. Jed Lowrie may have a lot to contribute; Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald says the shortstop recently finished up a political science degree from Stanford by writing a 17-page paper comparing the players' unions in MLB and the NFL.
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.
Some news about the various beasts of the eastern baseball world…
- Adam Jones doesn't believe the Orioles discussed a multi-year extension with his CAA representation before the two sides agreed to a 2011 contract, the outfielder tells MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli.
- The Red Sox haven't discussed a long-term extension with Clay Buchholz this offseason, reports Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Last September, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith explored what a Buchholz extension might cost Boston.
- Also from MacPherson, he points out that the Red Sox could wind up letting Jonathan Papelbon leave for nothing next winter. Papelbon would have to turn down an arbitration offer from Boston in order for the Sox to receive compensatory draft picks if he signed elsewhere as a free agent. However, by offering arbitration, the Red Sox would be making "a $14-$15MM gamble" that Papelbon wouldn't accept, since he's unlikely to find that much salary elsewhere.
- GM Mike Rizzo discussed several Nationals-related topics during a conference call with reporters today. Mark Zuckerman of the Nats Insider blog has a partial transcript.
- Alex Anthopoulos tells MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm his philosophy about not publicly disclosing whether or not the Jays are negotiating multi-year contracts, be they with Jose Bautista or any player.
- Brett Lawrie tells MinorLeagueBaseball.com's Robert Emrich that he has been working out at third base and believes he will play the position during Spring Training. When Toronto acquired Lawrie in the Shaun Marcum deal, there was speculation to whether Lawrie would stay at second base or be moved to third or even a corner outfield spot. The Jays are, obviously, set at second (at least in the short term) with Aaron Hill.
- In an interview with Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio (Twitter link), Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock says his club does not have to deal Joe Blanton or Kyle Kendrick. Proefrock also said the Phillies will look within the organization for right-handed hitting help.
- The Orioles are lacking in Major League third base depth, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
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 WEEI.com 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.