The Boston Red Sox have cut their deficit down from 10 games back in mid-June to six in a matter of two weeks and now sit six games under .500 with five games to go before the All-Star break. And now Clay Buchholz has been pitching like a front-of-the-rotation starter for the last two months, including a 5-0 mark in his last seven starts with a 1.99 ERA and a staggering 42:7 K:BB ratio. In his last 11 games started, he is 7-4 with a 2.17 ERA.
On the year, the veteran is 7-6 with a starter-low ERA of 3.27 and is currently on one of his “good” runs.
Yes, the most consistent thing about Buchholz is his ability to be inconsistent on the mound, but the Red Sox have been known of late to keep pitchers they have control of for multiple years.
For instance, the Red Sox have Wade Miley (under contract until 2017), Rick Porcello (signed an extension through 2019) and Joe Kelly (arbitration eligible until 2018) who all are under team control for the next several seasons. The team also has several young pitchers who are completely under team control, so the team likes the team-friendly deals (well, except Porcello’s but that’s the exception not the rule).
So, with the downhill seemingly right around the corner for Buchholz, why shouldn’t the team look to deal him? Well, the Red Sox are in dyer need of starting pitchers who can eat innings and pitch well (*cough, cough* Porcello can’t do this especially the last two months).
If the team were to trade the 30-year-old, then a starter would need to come back in the deal. This means some middle-tier pitcher or worse for a starter that is still under team control until the 2017 season thanks to a couple team options worth $13 and $13.5 million respectively.
The only way the Red Sox were to trade Buchholz is if the team loses the momentum they have gained over the last 17 games. The AL East is a division that no one has really taken control of this season and the next 25 days will determine how the team will handle the trade deadline come July 31st.
It may be frustrating at times to watch the talent of Buchholz be put to waste with inconsistent starts and injury after injury. However, the pitcher has shown of late that he his finally maturing on the mound with less “illegal” actions such as lathering the ball with the goop from his hair.
The team is starting to look like the team that could run away with the AL East and Buchholz is a part of that future if the team wants to make a run to be a playoff team.