Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters the Red Sox will listen to potential trade opportunities, but there is "no major drive" to add more players. Dombrowski said trading Buchholz gives the team flexibility during the offseason and puts Boston under the CBT (competitive-balance tax).
The New York Post's Joel Sherman thought the move played into what the Phillies have done this offseason:
MLB.com's Mike Petriello likes how Philadelphia has assembled its starting rotation:
This comes after Rob Bradford of WEEI.com noted earlier in December teams that talked to the Red Sox about available pitchers sensed Dombrowski was more interested in trading Buchholz over Drew Pomeranz.
Boston acquired Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox this offseason and largely has its rotation set with Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez and Pomeranz all as candidates, which made Buchholz expendable.
Reports of a potential trade involving the right-hander appeared during the regular season, as Heyman tweeted Buchholz "came up in talks" before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline. Buchholz is a former All-Star, but he was far from a shutdown pitcher in 2016, with a 4.78 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 139.1 innings.
The Red Sox moved him to the bullpen after his struggles; home runs in particular were a problem for Buchholz. He allowed 21 long balls, which was still lower than the 25 he gave up in 2012.
He returned to the starting rotation late in the season and turned in a strong finish with a 3.14 ERA in five September appearances. The impressive finishing kick likely made him a more attractive trade target for the Phillies this offseason.
Despite the 2016 struggles, Buchholz was solid for the Red Sox in 2015 with a 3.26 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 107 strikeouts in 113.1 innings. It was a strong bounce-back effort after a lackluster 2014 campaign, when he finished with a 5.34 ERA.
Buchholz has been inconsistent for much of his career even though he made the All-Star Game in 2010 and in 2013:
|Clay Buchholz's Career Stats|
The hope in Boston in 2016 was that he would look like the All-Star version of himself as the team chased the postseason. However, that was not the case for much of the year, and it reached the point where he said he felt "like something has [to] be going on" when discussing his limited usage in July, per Bradford.
His new team can at least take solace in the fact he has proved himself at the major league level. If he performs like he did in his All-Star campaigns and down the stretch in 2016, he will be an asset in 2017.
What's more, he made playoff appearances for Boston in 2009, 2013 and 2016 and, theoretically, shouldn't be intimidated by any important moments for his new squad. Philadelphia's acquisition could be one of the better under-the-radar swaps of the offseason, especially if the 32-year-old can find consistency.