The Kansas City Royals signed pitcher Clay Buchholz to a Minor League deal on Monday. Buchholz will earn a $1.5 million salary if he makes the Royals’ Major League roster and can earn a supplementary $250,000 via incentives. The deal also includes an opt-out for May 1st, which means that if he has not made Kansas City’s 25-Man Roster by then, he can request a release.
Clay Buchholz was acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Boston Red Sox in December of 2016, but he was only able to make 2 starts (12.27 ERA in 7 1/3 innings pitched) before an MRI revealed that Buchholz had a partial tear of his right flexor pronator mass. Buchholz underwent surgery in April and was forced to sit out the rest of the season.
When Buchholz is at his best, he is a top of the line pitcher. Clay tossed a no-hitter with the Sox back in 2007, has been given 2 All-Star nods, and finished sixth in Cy Young voting in 2010. In 2015, Buchholz compiled a 3.2 WAR for the Red Sox despite making just 18 starts. The right-handed starter posted a 1.74 ERA in 16 starts in 2013. Buchholz may have trouble in 2018, as he is a fly ball pitcher (not good in this day and age) and has seen his velocity dip in recent years.
Buchholz, if he makes the ball club, will replace Jesse Hahn, who was diagnosed with a sprained right UCL. Despite this, Buchholz may have some trouble besting Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Ricky Nolasco, Jake Junis, or even Nate Karns in order to make the roster after being out of the game for so long.
Clay Buchholz will now get another shot at the big leagues, and the Kansas City Royals will get some much-needed pitching help. A nifty little low risk, high reward move for the rebuilding Royals.