The Royals are interested in acquiring a starting pitcher from the Red Sox, according to Boston Globe reporter Nick Cafardo. David Price and Rick Porcello are off-limits, but the pitchers could include Wade Miley, Clay Buchholz, or Joe Kelly. Cafardo wrote over the weekend that Buchholz would make "perfect sense" for the Royals, and speculated about some trade scenarios that included sending Buchholz to Kansas City for Luke Hochevar and a prospect. Reading between the lines, it appears there may be interest by the Royals in the 31-year old Clay Buchholz.
Buchholz is a nine-year Major League veteran with 73 career wins and a 3.85 ERA. His best season came in 2010 when he won 17 games with a 2.30 ERA, although he actually had a higher fWAR last year in just 18 starts. He was a 3.2 fWAR pitcher in 2015 with a 3.26 ERA but 2.68 FIP with the best strikeout-to-walk ratio of his career. He has brought his walk rate down dramatically, giving just 1.8 free passes per nine innings.
Buchholz has 7.1 strikeouts-per-nine innings for his career, but that number spiked to 8.5 last year. He has a 48.7% career ground ball rate and has been very good about preventing home runs the last three seasons. He did suffer from a terrible 2014 season, posting a 5.34 ERA, but he suffered from some bad luck with a 4.01 FIP and a 62.1 left-on-base rate, far below average.
Buchholz missed the entire second half of the season with a right flexor strain. He is expected to be ready for spring training. The Red Sox picked up his option for 2016 and he is set to earn $13 million next year. His contract also has a $13.5 million club option for 2017 with a $500,000 buyout. Steamer projects Buchholz to be a 2.3 WAR pitcher next year with a 3.62 ERA while Marcel projects a 4.03 ERA in 134 innings.