There can't really be a lonelier place for a starting pitcher than to be pulled out of the rotation and stashed in the bullpen. Buchholz can't be sent to the minors, so the only option left is for the Red Sox to let him work it out in the bullpen.
Again and again, manager John Farrell chose others over Buchholz. Hembree and then Layne, while Buchholz sat down again and again. It's been like that since Buchholz last start against the Angles on 2 July 2016. He has just been sitting around in the bullpen, picking at his fingers, warming up occasionally, but just sitting back down. He is emergency starter depth, nothing more.
All of this is about to get very interesting.
Tomorrow against the Giants, the Red Sox will be reactivating Junichi Tazawa from the disabled list. To make room someone has to be moved out of the bullpen, but only Hembree, Barnes and Ross Jr have options remaining. All three are stable, reliable pieces that you really can't see being moved out in favor of Buchholz.
His 6.31 ERA this season has put Buchholz into no man's land. The bench warming as starter depth does not fly when the Red Sox can roll the dice with Henry Owens and Roenis Elias. They can do no worse than Buchholz.
You also have to make room for Joe Kelly, who is about to return in a bullpen role and will always be a better option coming into games. Fans seem to like the Red Sox chances without him.
I am thinking that he is better served as trade padding and that GM Dave Dombrowski has one more move planned before the trade deadline that will see Buchholz hitting the bricks. There are other possible venues for him to try and revive his career.
Would love to see Clay Buchholz reincarnate his career w the Cubs, Marlins or Dodgers
It is very hard to imagine the Red Sox designating Buchholz for assignment. He is on the books for $13 million dollars this year and has another year of control in 2017 with a $500K option. It doesn't make much sense to give him away for nothing.
There has to be a trade on the horizon where Dombrowski can slip him into the mix for some value to get the Red Sox some help and let Buchholz out of his purgatory in the bullpen.
He certainly won't be pitching himself out of no man's land anytime soon.
Eric is a contributing writer since 2013 and a true Overseas Fan of the Boston Red Sox living in the Netherlands. He's spent years on baseball fields around the world pitching. His weekends are now spent helping the next generations of pitchers to find their passion and love for the sport. More articles by Eric: https://www.redsoxlife.com/search/label/ericschabell