Clay Buchholz Rumors
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.
Sunday night linkage..
- The three newest members of the Dodgers are happy to be in Los Angeles, writes MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.
- The Rangers were the biggest winners at the deadline, writes Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.
- Yunesky Maya tells Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald (Spanish link) that he has been training hard and "in about three weeks" the Nationals can save him a spot on the roster (translation courtesy of Nick Collias). Earlier today the Nats confirmed that they have inked the 28-year-old hurler to a four-year deal.
- Major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that a three-way trade was discussed in which Mike Lowell could have landed with the Yankees. In the discussed deal, the Red Sox would have sent Lowell to the Rangers, who would then send the veteran to the Yankees.
- Daniel Barbarisi of The Providence Journal writes that despite his strong first half, Clay Buchholz still couldn't bring himself to relax at the deadline.
- The Giants haven't talked to Carlos Delgado's people since this winter, tweets Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com.
- MLB.com's James Hall writes that Indians manager Manny Acta is happy to have July 31st in the rear view mirror. Jake Westbrook, Kerry Wood, Austin Kearns, and Jhonny Peralta were all shipped out in advance of the deadline.
- The future of Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu is clearly in doubt, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos had his eye on center fielder Anthony Gose for quite some time, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Anthopoulos finally got his man in exchange for first baseman Brett Wallace.
Ken Rosenthal has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive in...
- The Red Sox scouted Jarrod Saltalamacchia hard before acquiring him this afternoon, and they feel that he is throwing better and will benefit from a change of scenery. 18 months ago the cost for Salty was Clay Buchholz, so they feel he's worth the gamble considering the uncertain futures of Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek.
- The Braves didn't need either Kyle Farnsworth or Rick Ankiel, but picking up both improves their depth considerably. Ankiel will be the regular center fielder against righties, platooning with Melky Cabrera, while Farnsworth will help lessen the burden on Takashi Saito and Jonny Venters. The Braves are clearly going for it in Bobby Cox's final season.
- It seems odd that the Cardinals would trade Ryan Ludwick given their offensive inconsistency this year, but the team likes what Jon Jay has done and they'll save big when Ludwick goes to arbitration for the final time next season.
- Relative to its competition, no team did as poorly as the Mets at the deadline. They were outbid for Ramon Ramirez, and the Cubs wanted no part of a Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez for Carlos Zambrano swap. The Cubbies are hopeful that Big Z will come back and rebuild his value down the stretch.