Sunday, March 1

Buchholz Looking Confident

Many in Red Sox nation are not expecting much out of Clay Buchholz this season. Most believe he'll start the year in Triple A, especially given the current level of pitching depth as a result of off season acquisitions and other young talent. That said; the still skinny pitcher, who looks like he's closer to 12 than 24, had his second straight solid performance, going two innings, not giving up a run and allowing just one hit.

After the game, Buchholz sounded confident in his abilities and ready to put last year's difficult season completely behind him: “There’s no doubt in my mind I know I have the physical ability to do anything I want to do in this game. It’s a lot harder than a lot of people think it is as far as the mental side of the game. That’s where I had to build a lot on this offseason, talking to people and listening to what their past experiences were as a big leaguer back in the day or even now guys on this team. It was a struggle for last year but at the same time I learned a lot from it and I definitely know when I get in a certain situation this year I’ll know what I need to get through.”

Throughout the off season, Buchholz saw a sports psychologist to help him move beyond a difficult year and focus on the mental challenges he faces on the mound. In what is a very small sample this spring, it seems to have worked. Buchholz appears comfortable and more confident on the mound. Let's hope they tell Pedroia to not zing Clay too hard about seeing a psychologist...because you know he's dying to jump all over him about it.

Most believe Clay will start the season in Triple A regardless, and barring any injuries, I can't say I disagree. Building on some of this momentum will only help in his long term development. The question I have in my mind however, is that if Buchholz continues to improve and throw well, do the Red Sox try to move him at a high value come the trade deadline this summer? I think it'll depend on injuries and offensive production. Anything can happen from now until late July, but early signs point to an improved Clay Buchholz, which is certainly not a bad thing.


Anonymous said...

I still have concern about dealing this guy, or any pitcher that shows promise. We've learned in the past, you can never have too much pitching. I'm not a fan of tossing him out the door at the first sign of progress.

Anonymous said...

Should Halladay become available in July though? Would you part with two of a pool of three consisting of Bowden, Buccholz, L.Anderson?

Joe Murph said...

Good scenario, Dale. Personally I say no. I like Halladay and obviously he would be a huge addition midway through the year, but he's 31 and carrying a lot of miles on him. Strong as he still seems, I don't particularly love him long term, and the price is too steep for a solely short-term acquisition.

DVicino said...

I must agree with Joe on this one, although it's a tough call. I'm usually one who goes with proven over potential talent, but in this case, given Boston's current and long term needs, I couldn't part with Bowden, Buchholz and Anderson. Granted, bringing in Halladay would likely result in the Sox being post season favorites for a season or two. Perhaps a different group of prospects could get it done, but I think an inter-division deal like that is unlikely.

Joe Murph said...

I think the proposition was two out of three on Bowden, Buchholz, and Anderson. Change your decision at all, D?

DVicino said...

hmmm, I was thinking all three, but in the case of only giving up two of them, it might be different.

Bowden and Buchholz for Halladay is the trade I would most likely move on. Given Boston's needs and the idea of Anderson being a long term power threat from the left side, I just couldn't give him up. He's been ranked as our best prospect and the number one first base prospect in the league...gotta think he's nearly untouchable.

As for Bowden and Buchholz, swaping them for a proven horse like Halladay is easier to swallow. Roy seems like the kind of guy who will pitch into his late 30's, not saying we would sign him long term, but he's got a lot of good years left in that arm.

I generally don't like the idea of inter-division deals, but imagine a playoff rotation of Beckett, Halladay, Lester and Dice-K as a fourth if needed....combine that with what looks like a more than solid bullpen and it's lights out. The thought of that alone gets the deal done for me.

Joe Murph said...

It does make the case tougher when you point out the playoff rotation, but the idea of giving up two of our best young arms is way too much for me. I'd be more agreeable to giving up Anderson, really. At least keep one of the arms. Remember, too, that Anderson is our top prospect this year, just like Buchholz was last year. Wasn't Buchholz listed as like the #2 prospect in the whole league during spring training last year? I'm not at all ready to give up on him. I think he's gonna make his way into the rotation by year's end. Call me crazy. That in mind, I'd maybe make this trade for any of those three + a lesser prospect, but not two of them.

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