Love him or hate him, the Boston Red Sox’s decision to trade Clay Buchholz on Tuesday still was a bit of a surprise.
The Red Sox dealt Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies in return for minor league second baseman Josh Tobias, ending the right-hander’s 10-year tenure in Boston. It looked like Buchholz would return for Year 11 after the team picked up his $13.5 million option for 2017. But things changed in a hurry after president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski traded for Chris Sale on Dec. 6, leaving the Sox in a starting pitcher logjam.
So, why did Boston decide to move on from Buchholz? Dombrowski gave some insight into the decision Tuesday afternoon in a conference call with reporters.
“I think in this case, the timing fit for us,” Dombrowski said, via WEEI.com. “When we looked at everything, we were in a spot where we had seven established big-league starters, (and) we felt we had a little bit more depth there.
“We still have some guys that we feel are behind them in (Henry) Owens, (Roenis) Elias and (Brian) Johnson, we got a prospect that we liked (in Tobias), got a club where (Buchholz) can go and start for them (in Philadelphia), which he wouldn’t necessarily have that opportunity here. So, I think everything tied together for us that it made sense doing it now rather than waiting.”
The move certainly gives Buchholz a fresh start, but it still leaves some uncertainty in the Red Sox’s rotation, which now features four left-handers and just two right-handers. For Dombrowski, though, trading away the 32-year-old veteran also made financial sense, as it put the team under the $195 million luxury tax threshold established by Major League Baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement.
“I think it’s advantageous to be below the (collective bargaining tax) just based on the new basic agreement,” Dombrowski added. “It’s something that we were hopeful of doing. It fell into play here very well for us.
“It’s also a situation where it creates some flexibility for us as we go forward, staying below the CBT with areas we may want to address as the season progresses — Who even knows? Maybe even as the wintertime progresses.”
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images