We hardly even have to run one of these for Clay Buchholz simply because he is painfully predictable. In fact, he’s so predictable that this “player profile” will easily be the weakest and shortest of all of them, simply because there really is not much to say.
Going back to 2009, like clockwork, Buch has either made 14-16 starts, or 28-29 starts in a season. Don’t believe me? Just check here, you’ll see that I’m right.
Seriously, he is that predictable. Buch will either be good for 80-100 innings, or he will suck for 170. Given that he was virtually lights-out last year for half a season, I’m guessing this is going to be one of those 170-180-innings years that sees Buch go 8-12ish with an ERA in the mid-4’s.
That’s not the trick here though, the real issue at hand is what type of impact will Buch have on the Sox, and how important is 2016 for his career?
Outside of David Price our rotation is a bit thin. We’ve got him, Buch and Rick Porcello as our top three, and our second-best pitcher in Eduardo Rodriguez beginning the season on the DL. That said, if the Sox want to take the AL East then they need Buch to make it to 170-180 innings this season.
We saw what losing him can do to tax our bullpen, and though we’ve got a far better backend on the mound, we can’t risk overtaxing them again. I don’t care if Buch posts a 3.50 or a 5.50 ERA this season, as long as he lasts through it I’m okay with whatever numbers he posts. The Sox have their ace, they have a decent rotation, they just need Buch to eat as many innings as he can and take on a full workload, for once.
The wrinkle for him though is that after this season he has a team option for 2017 and then he’s a free agent. He had better pitch to his contract this year of he wants to stick around, because the Sox have plenty of young pitchers chomping at the bit to get their spot on the mound.