Ironically Clay Bucholz managed to avoid the Fire Sale of 2014 by having a dismal season far below expectations. His performance remains an enigma with curve balls sharp and lethal, but change-ups and cutters wild and unpredictable. No one vied for his services, so he is the last man standing in the Red Sox rotation.
That would not have been the case in July, 2013, when he was the subject of many inquiries about pitching. In the late Spring of 2013, he was the most dominant pitcher in baseball. In this space I lobbied for him to be Opening Day pitcher in 2014.
But the dominant Bucholz mysteriously disappeared while he was on the disabled list, so he became the problem instead of the prodigy.
It may be too soon to write off the talented Bucholz. He still shows some spectacular change-ups and the cutter often goes where he wants it to. Bucholz actually has the chance to head up a young and unproven pitching rotation. I’ll try not to oversell him this time, but I have seen the brilliant version (1.0) of Clay Bucholz and will not give up on its revival.
Juan Nieves has his work cut out for him, with a reconstituted pitching rotation, but he knows what he has with Bucholz. There might still be a dazzling return to the days of Bucholz 1.0