The Royals have signed starting pitcher Clay Buchholz to a minor league deal, according to USA Today reporter Bob Nightengale.
Clay Buchholz will earn $1.5 million if on #Royals big league roster with $250,000 in incentives— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 19, 2018
The Royals have agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with former Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz. The deal features a May 1 opt-out if he’s not on the 25-man roster.— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) March 19, 2018
The 33-year old right-hander has won 81 games in 11 big league seasons, mostly with the Red Sox. Last year was his first away from Boston and he pitched just 7 1⁄3 innings with the Phillies due to a torn flexor tendon in his right arm. In 2015, he was a 3.2 WAR pitcher for the Red Sox, although in just 18 starts, and he posted a 1.74 ERA in 16 starts in 2013.
Injuries have plagued Buchholz most of his career. He has never made 30 starts in a season, and has only reached the 25-start mark three times in his career. When healthy, he has been a front-line type starter, tossing a no-hitter with the Red Sox back in 2007. He has twice been an All-Star, and finished sixth in Cy Young voting in 2010. However he had a 4.78 ERA in 2016 in 139 1/3 innings with the Red Sox in 2016. Buchholz is a flyball pitcher, and his velocity has dipped in recent years.
With his late start in camp, Buchholz seems likely ticketed to Omaha to work his way back to the big leagues. He could be insurance for the Royals should anyone in their rotation get hurt the first month of the season, although the Royals also have veteran Ricky Nolasco in camp, as well as young starters like Eric Skoglund, Trevor Oaks, and Miguel Almonte that could get a look at the big leagues this year.