Red Sox Nation’s long national nightmare finally came to an end today when the local nine traded right-handed starting pitcher and winner of the club’s annual Joe Dirt lookalike contest Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies for minor league second baseman Josh Tobias.
I’m not one of those fans who watches the Red Sox every night, but generally I tune in several times a week. I swear to the Force Suckholz pitched in and approximately 73% of the Sox games I tuned into over the past four years. Few things ruined my mood quicker than turning on NESN, looking at the lineup, and realizing that not only was I going to have to put up with Jerry Remy’s bullshit I was also about to be subjected to one of the most miserable experiences in modern sports. A Clay Butthole start is like an OKCupid date: on paper, there’s a lot of potential, but more often than not you end up wanting to get it over with as quickly as possible so you can see what the next person on the schedule’s got.
Buchholz ends his decade in Boston with a 3.96 ERA, 899 Ks, an 81-61 record, and seven different stupid haircuts. Sure, those numbers might not seem so bad. That’s third or fourth starter material, right? The problem is the guy’s a head case. When one thing goes wrong, you can see it start to eat at him. His eyes narrow, his lip curls, and you start to wonder if he smells a bad fart. Meanwhile, the crappiest thing that’s about to happen is his next pitch.
Unless you count my effusive thanks, the Sox didn’t get much back in exchange for Buchholz. Tobias proved to be a solid hitter in A-ball, but he lacks a prospect pedigree and indications are he won’t amount to much. The trade of Buchholz’s $13.5 million contract does get the the team under the $195 million luxury tax cap, but word is they won’t be immediately reinvesting that savings elsewhere. Although I’m glad to be rid of the guy I wish the Sox had found a way to acquire more for him. The number of arms fighting for spots in their rotation meant they weren’t exactly dealing from a position of strength.
Despite all of my hilarious jokes, I actually think this is a good get for the Phillies. Buchholz is inconsistent and frustrating, yeah, but you can’t deny he’s got the stuff to be a solid major league starting pitcher. A switch to the weaker-hitting National League with a well-regarded pitching coach in a less intense market might be just what the doctor ordered. The Phillies are probably going nowhere this year, so why not roll the dice for cheap on a guy who could turn into something useful?
Anyway. The Clay Buchholz Era is over at long last. Now if the Sox just get rid of Wally they might really have something here.