By Joe Spinosa
In this week’s baseball news, the Oakland A’s trade away it’s longest tenured pitcher in a salary dump for an utterly useless minor leaguer. Oops, did I say Oakland A’s? I meant the Boston Red Sox, yeah the team with the third highest payroll and highest average ticket price, they traded away a starter who bailed them out down the stretch in 2016 to shave a couple million to get below the luxury tax threshold.
On December 20th, the Boston Red Sox traded two-time All-Star Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies for a prospect named Josh Tobias who was amongst the Philadelphia’s top 30 prospects according to MLB.com. I call Clay Buchholz the most consistently-inconsistent pitcher in baseball because you know what you are going to get, you just don’t know when you will get it. What I mean is that over the six-month MLB season, Clay Buchholz will give his team two good months, two bad months, and two months on the disabled list every year. After watching Clay Buchholz for the past 10 seasons, it is maddening for Red Sox fans because he flashes brilliance that makes people think he can be an ace, but then he gets hurt or gives up 5 runs in each of his next three starts.
Look no further than 2016, where Clay posted a horrendous 5.91 ERA before the All-Star Break and then an excellent 3.22 ERA after the Mid-Summer Classic. Furthermore, Buchholz could have netted a much better haul for Buchholz considering the very weak pitching market in which Jeremy Hellickson and Ivan Nova were the biggest prizes. At $13.5 million for one year, Buchholz would be a good option for teams looking to pick up a solid option for the rotation. One option the Red Sox could have done is eat half of Buchholz’s 2017 salary in exchange for a better return. Another alternative could have been waiting until spring training until other teams had no other options or suffered an injury, where in that case the Red Sox could have leveraged on overpay, but Dave Dombrowski is too hasty with his moves and has no patience.
Believe it or not, Clay Buchholz was an expendable asset. The Sox added Chris Sale and were in a position to deal a starter. However, the key word I used in the last sentence was deal, not give away, but that is what the Red Sox did, they gave away a pitcher for monetary reasons. I am very frustrated right now as a Red Sox fan because the team can burn assets like Anderson Espinoza, Yoan Moncada, and Michael Kopech to improve the team, but they can’t keep a guy for less than $14 million. That is pretty ridiculous for a team who is “all-in” on winning a World Series in the next couple of years.
Finally, if I were running the Red Sox, my priority would have been to move Drew, or as I like to call him “Eww!”, Pomeranz who to some stupid and desperate teams has value. Obviously the Red Sox could not receive a player of the pedigree of Anderson Espinoza for Pomeranz after his stint in Boston, but they could have gotten a top 100 prospect to help rebuild a farm system which Dave Dombrowski has so recklessly depleted. The Sox should have just cut their losses on Pomeranz and recoup whatever assets they could, but Dombrowski is too stubborn to admit his mistake. I knew from the get-go, the Drew Pomeranz trade was an unmitigated disaster, but even worse Dombrowski passed on the opportunity to rescind the atrocity. Dombrowski had the chance to reverse the trade because the Padres withheld important medical documents from the MLB’s medical database and did not disclose Pomeranz’s injury history. However, Dombrowski decided to keep the trade and ride it out with the big left-handed stiff. Now Dombrowski is especially afraid to admit he was on the losing end of a trade and put his pride before the wellbeing of the organization. So to sum things up the Red Sox got the short end of the stick on yet another trade. Good work Dave! I also predict Buchholz will have one of his best seasons in the National League and will command a fairly decent payday in the 2017-18 offseason.