Thursday, January 20, 2011

Red Sox, Buchholz Not in Extension Talks

According to Rod Bradford of, Clay Buchholz has not been approached by the Red Sox regarding a contract extension.
“I haven’t spoken money with anybody,” said the 26-year-old Buchholz. “It’s been basically go out and play until somebody approaches me about it. That’s sort of how I’m looking at it.”
Before Red Sox fans get all up and arms about this, we need to keep in mind that Buchholz is entering his final "reserve clause" season.  The Red Sox have the right to set his salary at any rate they choose, and Buchholz would have no recourse.  In all honestly, they'd be stupid to try and sign him to an extension right now.  Their smartest option is to start negotiating after the 2011 season, and try to get him locked up before arbitration figures are exchanged in mid-January.

Additionally, while Buchholz is coming off of a season in which he produced a 17-7 record with a 2.33 ERA, it's important to note that his peripherals did not match his performance.  While Buchholz had a healthy whiff rate, his 6.22 K/9 rate was well below average.  His 3.47 BB/9 rate put him in the bottom quartile of qualified major league pitchers.  Those two indicators, combined with a lucky BABIP (in comparison to his xBABIP) and HR/FB ratio (in comparison to his career rates and league norms) imply that Buchholz's talent level is probably closer to the 3.61 FIP he produced last season rather than the 2.33 ERA.  Purely from a performance standpoint, it would behoove the Red Sox to wait on making a deal because it's possible Buchholz will see some performance regression in 2011.

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