If there was any reason to not trade Clay Buchholz, it would have been that the Boston Red Sox rotation is lefty-heavy, following the acquisition of Chris Sale.
But president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski proved on Tuesday that he wasn’t overly concerned with the possibility of having four left-handers in the starting rotation, when he sent Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies for minor-league second-baseman Josh Tobias.
That leaves the Red Sox with only two possible right-handed starters to begin the season, in reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and knuckleballer (Steven) Wright.
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Seeing such a lefty-heavy rotation doesn’t make me second-guess the Buchholz trade. He needed a change of scenery. And the Red Sox had waited long enough for the 32-year-old to either stay healthy or live up to his potential. The longer they held onto him, the less they were going to get in return. Moving him was a no-brainer.
And for those who are clamoring for another righty starter, I’m here to tell you that Dombrowski doesn’t have to be done dealing if he doesn’t want to be.
The idea of another blockbuster trade for a starting pitcher might not sound too realistic, seeing that the Sox gave up four prospects — including two of their top five — to land Sale just a few weeks ago. But perhaps the best part about that trade was what they didn’t have to give up to land Sale.
Ok, so Yoan Moncada is arguably the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, and Michael Kopech was one of the organization’s top-five prospects. But last time I checked their Major League roster and organizational depth chart, the Red Sox are still packing a pretty good punch when it comes to the value of their remaining trade chips.
Let me just throw something at you. What if Dombrowski made some calls, and offered a package that included Eduardo Rodriguez, Blake Swihart, and multiple prospects? Maybe he even teased adding Drew Pomeranz to the deal? Or how about last year’s first-round pick Jason Groome?
What, you mean to tell me nobody would listen? Please. Even after the Sale trade, the Red Sox still have enough talent to get the attention of opposing general managers. And if Dombrowski wanted to get creative and pull the trigger on another blockbuster trade for a starting pitcher — preferably a righty — he could.
I know I say this to you quite often. But what would be stopping the Oakland Athletics from having a conversation with Dombrowski if he were to offer the aforementioned trade package for Sonny Gray? Or how about someone like Yordano Ventura with the Kansas City Royals?
Gray and Ventura are two right-handers whose availability I wondered about before the Sale trade was even made. But seeing that Gray and Ventura didn’t necessarily light it up last year, I still wonder if a trade like that would ever be on the table. And if it’s not either of those pitchers, it’s another right-handed starter in his 20’s who the Red Sox could talk that players’ team into making him available.
Point is, any concern over not having enough right-handed starters — after the Buchholz trade — could be solved if the Red Sox saw truly wanted to solve it, in the form of another blockbuster trade.
Imagine, the reigning Cy Young winner as a team’s No. 4 starter. That’s a truly scary thought for the rest of the American League.
And a very realistic thought for the Red Sox.
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