The idea of making it back in September seems to represent a rather optimistic scenario for the 32-year-old hurler. While his surgery is said to come with a four-to-six month recovery period, that doesn’t account for the the need to restart a throwing program.
Buchholz acknowledges that he was not operating at his peak even prior to the injury. As Zolecki notes, his velocity readings showed that. “I was probably throwing at 85 percent,” says Buchholz, “just trying to do what I was doing, get by and build arm strength.” Nevertheless, he insists, the injury arose suddenly.
The veteran starter says that he has apologized throughout the organization for being out, though surely he’s not at fault here. Still, the club seems unlikely to get much for its $13.5MM investment. Barring a surprising return late this year, odds are that Buchholz will not throw another pitch for the Phillies before he reaches free agency for the first time.
As for that upcoming open-market trip, Buchholz suggested he has every intention of returning. “I wanted to pitch,” says Buchholz. “I wanted to be good. … I definitely don’t think I’m done playing. I’ve stayed healthy for the most part. This is the first issue that has involved surgery for me.”
There’s plenty of time to see how the market shapes up, but Buchholz seems likely to represent a classic buy-low, back-of-the-rotation target. He has been excellent at times, including recently (in much of 2015 and late in 2016), though inconsistency and questions about his health will surely tamp down interest.