Bottom of the 9th, April 4th, 2001. Troy O’Leary emphatically called off Carl Everett and Shea Hillenbrand, as he camped under a lazy pop fly to left, to record to the final out of a Hideo Nomo no hitter in Camden Yards. It was the first Red Sox no hitter since Dave Morehead in 1965.
Following Nomo’s no-no, Sox hurlers have thrown three more. Derek Lowe the following season, Jon Lester in 2008, and a year prior to Lester.. Clay Buchholz.
Buchholz’s career in Boston can be described as mildly infuriating. In his ten year tenure in a Sox uniform, Clay was a two time All-Star. He compiled an 81-61 record to go along with a 3.96 ERA, and added 6 complete game shutouts. His 899 strikeouts and 0.9 HR/9 ratio weren’t too shabby either.
However, his contributions are marred by a smorgasbord of injuries which ill detail below, and one more number: 18.8. That’s the average number of starts he made per season, and was paid $44M to do so.
Yes, it’s been a slow offseason. Rumors are made up out of thin air, and this past week, Buchholz has been involved. It seems part of the fan base would actually be open to a reunion with the slim Texas native. So, I’ve compiled a pros and cons list to see if it would actually be worth the hassle of bringing him back on board. We’ll start with the cons.
•pitched 7 innings last season.
•his annual injuries include DL stints for a blister, lower back stress fracture, Esophagitis, right shoulder bursitis, hyperextension of the left knee, and he missed time 28 games after having offseason meniscus surgery. He then tore his flexor tendon in Philadelphia last season, giving the Phillies a taste of what we endured for so many seasons.
•has shown no sign of even being able to face a major league hitter.
•provides about as much pitching depth as Mitch Moreland.
•blocks the advancement and development of the pitchers in a so called “depleted” farm system.
•has all major body parts.
•can stand on mound.
Given the circumstances of the Red Sox rotation, it’s essential for them to add another back end arm this month, or the next. We probably won’t see Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish here anytime soon, but if it’s depth you’re after, then why not someone who’s actually going to be effective? And is healthy? There is nothing Buc will give this team that Hector Velazquez or Brian Johnson can’t, and they’re already here.
If it’s reminiscence and nostalgia you desire, then yeah, Clay is a terrific fit. But the signing of a 33 year old who left his second start of 2017, never to return, is nonsensical. Sure, what’s the worst that could happen? Well, he could make the club, and do nothing but lose for us. As I wrote yesterday, Boston thought Kyle Kendrick was worth a flyer, but all he did was go 0-2 and tax the bullpen, when all the Sox needed were some innings. Going back to Buc, he could lock down a spot in the Pawtucket rotation, acting as an inhibitor that prevents Portland prospects from making the leap to AAA. Boston wants to assemble a winning ball club, and you don’t achieve championship status by adding flameouts, simply because they were good once upon a time. So no, the left hander is not worth an invite to spring training, or God help us, even a one year deal.
Clay Buchholz wasn’t a superstar, and he had his share of letdowns, but the first round draft pick left some pretty good memories for Red Sox fans. Let’s leave it there.