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.
HBT Daily: What’s wrong with the Red Sox?
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.