Clay Buchholz has the Red Sox in a bind

16 Comments

Clay Buchholz is throwing in the low-90s consistently. His curveball looked plenty good today. He’s been inconsistent with his changeup, but that hardly explains the 9.09 ERA.

Buchholz gave up five more runs in 3 2/3 innings Sunday in a no-decision in what ended up being a 17-inning loss to the Orioles. He’s allowed at least five runs in all six of his outings this season. The three homers he surrendered today brought his season total to 10 in 32 2/3 innings. That’s one more than he allowed in 173 2/3 innings while winning 17 games for the Red Sox in 2010.

Obviously, Buchholz’s command has been an issue. Four more walks today brought his season total to 19. Still, even more than that, it seems like a lack of confidence is his biggest problem.

Questions about his mental toughness dogged Buchholz as he initially struggled to establish himself in Boston. He made such oddly timed pickoff throws to first and sometimes just seemed to shrink on the mound during his first three years before his breakthrough campaign two seasons ago. He hasn’t gotten himself back into some of those odd habits, but there’s certainly been some indecisiveness on the mound during his six starts this year.

For all of his struggles, Buchholz hasn’t really hurt the Red Sox yet. The team is 3-3 with him on the mound (compared to 8-13 the rest of the time) and two of the losses came in extra innings. Still, the club can’t run him out there with a 9.00 ERA for too much longer. If he’s not better next time out, the Red Sox may have to option him to Triple-A and give Andrew Miller or someone else a crack at his rotation spot. They might actually need to do it now after exhausting their bullpen Sunday.

Mets, Jacob deGrom agree to a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension

Getty Images
4 Comments

The Mets have a deal on a contract extension with ace Jacob deGrom. Andy Martino of SNY was the first to report the deal. The terms, per Ken Rosenthal: five years, $137.5 million with a club option for 2024. deGrom gets a full no-trade clause and has a potential opt-out after 2022.

Sale was slated to earn $17 million this year, so the deal contains $120.5 million in new money. There will be some restructuring, however: he’ll still get $17 million this year, but $10 million of it is as as signing bonus and $7 million of it is in salary. He’ll get $23 million in 2020, $33.5 million in 2021 and 2022 and, if he doesn’t opt-out, $30.5 million in 2023 and $32.5 million as the club option in 2024. The overall average annual value of the deal — which covers this year and next year, which would’ve been arbitration, and three potential years of free agency, is $27.5 million

Overall, the contract is very similar to the one Chris Sale just signed, even though he is a year further from free agency. deGrom will earn $107 million between now and his opt-out date. Sale will earn $105 million. Of course, if the doesn’t opt-out the deal runs through 2023, with that club option for 2024.

deGrom, the 2018 Cy Young Award winner has made no secret of his desire for a contract extension. He, likewise, has said he would not discuss the matter with the Mets after the start of the season on Thursday. This, then, is getting the job done, just under the wire.

deGrom is coming off of a season in which he posted a 1.70 ERA with 269 strikeouts and 46 walks across 217 innings. It’s the lowest ERA by a qualified starter since Zack Greinke‘s 1.66 in 2015. Prior to Greinke, no pitcher had posted an ERA of 1.70 or lower since Greg Maddux in 1994-95 (1.56, 1.63).

deGrom will turn 31 years old in June. He’ll be 35 when the deal ends or, if the option is picked up, 36.