The Royals have agreed to a minor-league deal with righty Clay Buchholz, a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today indicates (Twitter links). If the deal is finalized, Buchholz can earn at a $1.5MM rate in the majors.
Buchholz can also reach up to $250K in incentives. He’d earn $25K apiece for making his tenth through 19th starts, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. The contract also includes an opt-out opportunity on May 1st.
Kansas City seems like a good spot for the veteran hurler to attempt a comeback. After all, the team’s rotation is not exactly overflowing with depth and the Royals have good cause to seek some low-risk upside after adding a few veterans on one-year deals.
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Buchholz, 33, missed virtually all of the 2017 season with a partially torn flexor pronator mass. The Phillies had acquired him from the Red Sox and assumed his $13.5MM salary. (Boston had picked up its club option over Buchholz in the final year of control under the extension the sides agreed to back in 2011.)
It’s tough to say what the Royals will get out of Buchholz, who had plenty of ups and downs even before his injury. He compiled 113 1/3 innings of 3.26 ERA ball in 2015, then struggled for much of the ensuing season while showing declines in strikeouts (6.0 K/9) and groundball induction (41.2% groundball rate). Yet Buchholz also finished the 2016 season on a tear, running up 44 frames of 2.86 ERA ball to close out the year.
First, though, the veteran starter will need to earn his way back to the majors. Presumably, he won’t be a candidate for the Opening Day roster, given that he has missed almost all of camp. But Buchholz could present an option if and when a rotation need arises.