That hot stove is starting to get slightly warmer, as a trade has gone down in this quiet week before the holidays. The Philadelphia Phillies have traded for pitcher Clay Buchholz, and the Boston Red Sox have acquired minor league second baseman Josh Tobias in return.
Buchholz, who has spent his entire 10-year career with the Red Sox, has had some up and down years with the team. He famously became the first Red Sox rookie to throw a no-hitter when he did it back in 2007, and his best season came in 2010 when he pitched to a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts and 173.2 innings. Since then, he’s had several years cut short by injuries, and his stats in the years he wasn’t injured aren’t exactly pretty. He finished 2016 with a 4.78 ERA in 139.1 innings, but that doesn’t reveal just how good Buchholz was to finish out the season. In the last two months of 2016, Buchholz had a 3.02 ERA.
The Red Sox had picked up Buchholz’s 2017 option in November so it seemed like Buchholz was going to stay in Boston, but the Chris Sale trade changed everything. With a new ace on board, there just wasn’t room for Buchholz anymore. Trading him also cleared some salary space: Buchholz is owed $13.5 million in 2017, and now all of that is the Phillies’ responsibility.
It’s not totally clear right now what the Phillies plan to do with Buchholz. He’ll most likely move into their rotation, even though it’s extremely crowded. Buchholz could also move into the bullpen, where he has experience (and where the Phillies definitely need help), but that would sap a decent amount of his trade value. Regardless, a team can never have too much pitching depth, and since the Phillies are high on youth and low on experience right now, picking up an innings-eating pitcher can only help.
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