New Red Sox' team president Dave Dombrowski may not pick up the $13 million team option on right-hander Clay Buchholz for next season, according to a report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Buchholz has struggled with injuries over the past few seasons despite his success while on the mound.
One American League general manager told Cafardo that Buchholz would likely earn a deal in the three-year, $15 million range on the free-agent market, though multiple teams will likely have significant interest in the talented righty and are likely to offer larger deals with built-in incentive clauses to protect against injuries. The 31-year old Buchholz has never before been a free agent and is in the final guaranteed season of a five-year, $30.5 million contract.
Parting with Buchholz would be one of the first significant moves for Dombrowski in his new position, as former general manager Ben Cherington would likely have guaranteed Buchholz's option out of loyalty to a player who was drafted and developed by the Red Sox' organization.
In nine seasons with Boston, Buchholz has posted a 73-51 record and 3.89 ERA, and is a two-time All-Star. He has never pitched more than 190 innings in a season and has missed significant time in two of the last three seasons due to arm problems that have not required Tommy John surgery. He has been out since mid-July with a flexor strain in his right elbow after posting a 3.26 ERA in his first eighteen starts of the season.