The Rangers have dramatically revamped their rotation this offseason by adding Drew Smyly, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller (in addition to selecting Edinson Volquez to the 40-man roster), but Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets that the Texas organization has also “been in contact” with free-agent righty Clay Buchholz. He further qualifies that there’s “no word” whether a deal between the two sides is close, but the connection is nonetheless of some note.
It’s been a quiet season in terms of teams being connected to Buchholz. The 34-year-old was nothing short of spectacular in 2018, as he turned in 98 1/3 brilliant innings with the D-backs after being cut loose by Kansas City. With Arizona, Buchholz pitched to a 2.01 ERA with 7.4 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.82 HR/9 and a 42.6 percent ground-ball rate in 16 starts.
The veteran Buchholz looked to be positioning himself for a multi-year contract in free agency, but he unfortunately suffered a flexor mass strain in his right forearm that truncated his season in September. The injury didn’t require surgical repair — Buchholz underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection — but did give teams some understandable cause for concern, especially when considering his injury history. Buchholz did, after all, miss nearly the entire 2017 season due to a flexor tear in his right arm and also missed substantial time in 2015 due to a flexor strain.
For the Rangers or any other pitching-needy team, Buchholz is a sensible buy-low option — likely on a one-year deal, depending on the current state of his forearm and progress he’s made in rehabbing the injury. Joining the Rangers and their homer-happy home park may not be the most appealing option for Buchholz, though Miller wasn’t deterred by that concept when signing a one-year deal with Texas.