Have fans really seen the last of Clay Buchholz in a Red Sox uniform?
Boston moved Buchholz to the Phillies for a minor league just before the holidays but that was a week before presumed Sox starter Eduardo Rodríguez injured that troublesome right knee in a winter ball game in Venezuela. Sox baseball president Dave Dombrowski referred to the injury as just a “tweak,” but then the brass didn’t seem too concerned last spring training when a “minor” injury to that same knee led to nine missed weeks of the regular season.
The most recent injury has led some to speculate as to whether we’ve seen the last of Buchholz in a Red Sox uniform, particularly given the Red Sox depth at Triple-A consists of what ESPN aptly calls “a trio of unproven lefties,” namely Henry Owens, Brian Johnson and Roenis Elias.
Now, let’s catch you up with some other news and notes of particular interest to Red Sox fans.
- Sandy León sputtered through the final month of 2016 but what he did overall, ending the season at .310 AVG/.369 OBP/.476 SLG in 78 games, made the catcher’s job his to lose. If he’s not up to the task, the Sox have hung on to Christian Vázquez and Blake Swihart, the latter of whom was told there’ll be no further experiments with him playing in the outfield.
- Sox farmhand catcher Jake Romanski got a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Amphetamine, a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Romanski is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. His suspension, one of five handed down by The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, begins with the start of the 2017 International League season.
- What might have been: Seven years ago this week Boston signed future Hall of Famer Adrián Beltré to a one-year, $9 million deal to play third base. In that stellar year Beltre enjoyed his first of four All-Star selections, slashing .321 AVG/.365 OBP/.553 SLG with 28 home runs and 102 RBI over 154 games. The following year Beltre signed with the Rangers (a deal that was later extended through 2018) where he owns an .873 OPS in the six years since.
- Rusney Castillo (remember him?) is 20-for-51 with three doubles, seven RBIs, five walks and seven strikeouts in winter ball action in Puerto Rico. Castillo owns a .431 on-base percentage, .451 slugging percentage and .882 OPS, according to a report on MassLive.com. The winter ball numbers are a small sample size, to be sure, though Castillo quietly slashed .300/.335/.400 in the second half at Triple-A last season. Regardless, he’ll earn $11.3 million during 2017.
Let’s end this wrap-up on a happier note. Surely you’ve seen this, but even if you have…