Let Clay Buchholz Be

Clay BuchholzFrustration towards Clay Buchholz is mounting with every poor outing, and if you watch the Boston Red Sox closely you know there have been a lot of them. His abysmal 6.20 ERA has naturally led people calling for Clay to be shutdown, DFA’d, or whatever, as long as it means they don’t have to suffer through watching him every fifth day. I see where they’re coming from, I really do, but it’s not the sensible thing to do.

This season is a dud for the Red Sox, so it doesn’t matter if Buchholz pitches poorly or not. The only thing that can happen is he contributes negative value, which will bring Boston a worse record, but, more importantly, a higher draft pick.

That’s not the only reason I think John Farrell and Company should stick with the right-handed pitcher.

He’s proven in the past that he has the aptitude to not only flourish in the big leagues, but to be among the game’s elite. In large part his past success is due to his tremendous ‘stuff’—a premier change-up, sharp curve, and a fastball which hovers in the low 90’s. His command and health issues, along with his assumed lack of focus, however, have held him back and acted as his Achilles’ heel.

It’s stifled him from consistent prosperity, but, again, when going good he’s one of the best there is. I know his inconsistency is irritating and troublesome, but it’s ludicrous to not give him the chance to figure it out in a lost year opposed to unproven rookies. Further, having a veteran on the staff will help the influx of rookies who have recently joined the club. Buchholz’s presence will likely be beneficial regardless of whether he’s playing well or not.

Honestly, it’s probably more worthwhile to see what they have in a guy who’s done “it” before because, more than likely, he’ll have a better chance to perform well as a big league starter. I’m weary for any team to rely on too many rookies, as the transition adjusting to the nuances of Major League Baseball isn’t easy by any stretch — just ask Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Allen Webster.

Also, what do you suggest the Red Sox do to deter him from pitching? Suggest he fabricate an injury? How’s that going to help him live up to his $12 million dollar contract next year? Likewise if they shut him down for the rest of the season. He’ll just be even more rusty coming into 2015, and, come on,  no one wants a rustier Clay Buchholz!

Finally, you can’t designate him for assignment without running the risk of losing him. If he is, or is close to, the All-Star-esque pitcher we’ve gladly seen in the past then there’s no way you want to lose that.

Just stick with him and try to raise his trade value. If he doesn’t pitch well, then what? You get a better draft pick.

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