Clay Buchholz could be out of the Sox’ rotation, could be heading for the disabled list

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The Red Sox snapped their ten-game losing streak yesterday. It was pretty amazing that they did, though, as starting pitcher Clay Buchholz was horrendous. He walked eight guys and gave up six runs in three innings. He faced 21 batters and 12 of them reached base. If not for David Ortiz’s heroics and a great performance by Sox relievers, that streak would now be at 11.

After the game, manager John Farrell hinted that Buchholz could be out of the rotation, saying “we’ve got to look at this a little bit closer,” and that¬†“there’s no determination on five days from now.” It’s possible that, rather than a demotion, Buchholz could go on the DL, even though he says he’s healthy. As Gordon Edes reports at ESPN Boston, Buchholz’s issues may be mechanical — and watching him pitch yesterday it’s clear that he’s a mechanical mess right now — but it’s quite possible that the mechanical problems are a function of lingering physical problems:

One scout who watched Buchholz on Monday said he does not come over the top the way he did early in his career, when he threw a devastating 12-to-6 curveball and didn’t rely as much as he does now on his cutter. But Buchholz already had modified his arm slot last season.

Continuing to call his issues mechanical in nature may be an exercise in semantics; his mechanics may be off because his shoulder won’t allow him to do the things he did before he was hurt.

Buchholz acknowledged that possibility and noted that it’s all out of his hands.

At the moment, Buchholz’s ERA is over 7 and he looks worse now than he has ever looked. It’d be rather surprising if he took his next turn in the rotation.

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Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.