Yesterday, the Phillies traded a minor league infielder to the Boston Red Sox for veteran RHP Clay Buchholz. The Phillies will assume the final, $13.5M year of the pitcher’s contract. To acquire Buchholz, the Phillies relquished former Florida third baseman, Josh Tobias. To make room on their 40-man roster, they DFA-ed recent waiver claim 3B Richie Shaffer.
Buchholz pitched his way into Boston’s bullpen twice last season. Although, he did finish strong in 4 of his final appearances, all starts.
Tobias was the Phillies #10 pick in the 2015 draft. He hit well at Williamsport and Lakewood, but struggled a bit during his late call up to Clearwater last season. A third baseman in college, Tobias was immediately transitioned to second base by the Phillies. Five of his starts last season came in left field.
Tobias had the misfortune of being in the same draft class as 2B Scott Kingery and would likely be blocked by Kingery for the duration of his time with the organization.
I hesitated posting a story about this article, but doubts linger. I understand that acquiring pitching is a good thing, especially on cheap, short contracts. And there is the possibility of a flip at the trade deadline. And losing Tobias doesn’t hurt organization depth too much.
But, my first thought was are the SP who are recovering from injury not as close to returning for ST and the start of the season as we were led to believe? Are the Phillies not as confident in the other SP who made their debuts last season as we are? Are other SP prospects in the upper minors not as close as we hoped? I discussed this ad infinitum via messaging with friends from ST yesterday.
A couple days ago, Matt Klentak said the Phillies were interested in but not openly looking at adding another hitter or reliever (likely a reserve outfielder so as not to take playing time away from their young outfielders). Additionally Klentak stated, “We continue to prioritize roster flexibility and payroll flexibility so players that are in position to sign shorter term contracts are going to be more appealing to us.” Is Buchholz a starter or the reliever they wanted? Or both?
And then today, friends from the Philadelphia area who are Red Sox fans posted on my FB page, “What do you think of the Phillies trade for Buchholz? Being a Red Sox fan, I love it that he’s finally gone.”
I don’t have a problem with the trade itself. However, I look at the acquisition as getting a guy who will take 150 IP away from the younger prospect or prospects I would rather see pitch.