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  1. Man look at that freaking K-rate for Gallardo… If he can ever get his walks down under 3 and keep the strikeouts he’d win the Cy Young.

    Comment by DonCoburleone — February 16, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

  2. Interesting. As a sox fan, I think I need to see one more season of Buchholz before locking him up like that. I think there’s enough of a chance that he isn’t worth it to risk the extra money you’ll have to give him later if he IS worth it. If that makes sense. Basically, I am skeptical. If nothing else because Clay seems to lack composure on the mound. He seems so easily distracted.

    Comment by superhans — February 16, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

  3. It seems there are a few reasons to believe that Buchholz will regress next year, namely a low–when compared to career averages–BABIP and a very low HR/FB ratio. Right now the Red Sox might be buying high on him.

    If they bank on at least a mild a regression, they might save themselves some dollars down the line.

    Comment by Seth — February 16, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

  4. “Giving Buchholz Lester’s Extension”

    I’m pretty sure Lester would be upset about that.

    Comment by mattymatty2000 — February 16, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

  5. I don’t get this.

    I remember last year/season when Cb was get some CYA love.

    Here’s what bothers me …

    [1] He threw 172 IP
    [2] 6.2 K9, 3.5 BB9
    [3] 0.47 HR9
    [4] .261 BABIP

    His 6.12 IP/GS is decent, but again … we don’t know how these guys will respond once they get near and even surpass 200 IP. That seems to be a pretty big threshold for some guys to endure.

    The K9 and BB9 rates are unspectacular, but decent.

    The HR9 is going to regress, as is the BABIP, and those tow things combined could have a major effect on what makes him look “promising”, namely his wins total last year and his ERA.

    Regardless, 5/30 should work for the team and pitcher.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 16, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

  6. Why exactly? Lester chose the deal he signed and I am sure he was very happy when he signed it to lock up his financial situation for life. When Lester signed, Boston didn’t know that he was going to be this good. Up until this point in their careers, like the chart shows, they are very similar pitchers. So hindsight shouldn’t make Lester mad if Buccholz gets a deal similar to his. They are similar pitchers and both have the same pretty high upside, so locking them up to similar deals should be expected.

    Comment by Dustin — February 16, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  7. I was surprised to see the similarity between the two pitchers, because I was really high on Lester and have been fairly skeptical of Buchholz. I would think you would have to put the numbers into context that the reason that Lester didn’t put a full season together until 2008 was because he had cancer. Buchholz didn’t hold a spot because he was to erratic. There was real reason to think that Lester would improve over his 2008, while there is plenty of reason to think Buchholz will regress from his 2010. Ultimately when the Red Sox locked Lester up I’m sure they thought they were getting a talented durable number three, or maybe number two. His strikeout rate soared, he remained durable and became an ace. Buchholz wouldn’t have to do the same to deserve the same money. But the Sox can afford to wait a year.

    Comment by Preston — February 16, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

  8. You’re missing the joke…

    Comment by Preston — February 16, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

  9. Might be time for sense of humor exercises, I think yours seems a little out of shape.

    Comment by Judy — February 16, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  10. The fact that Lester went thru the cancer health issue, hence he was clearly just trying to get back to his former strength back during part of that two year service time, and is STILL one year younger is a pretty big deal in terms of expected/potential ceiling I would think. The fact that he is also left handed likely adds some value as well. That being said, Clay’s K rates in the minors were high and have dipped at the MLB level much like Lester’s did originally, so there does seem to be some hope of a similar progression. But if memory serves Lester progression is not normal. K rates typically go down as you climb the ladder and don’t usually get back to the same high levels that are reached in the minors. This would seem to point to a lower overall value than Lester. However, contract values seem to have gone up over the last 12-18 months so something in the same overall area would seem to be appropriate. It all hinges on what the Sox self scouting of Clay sees going forward. We all realize he’s due for a regression (in terms of ERA) if he duplicates his performance from last year in the rate stats. But the Red Sox appear to have known something about Lester when they inked him and maybe they know something here too.

    Comment by Nate — February 16, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

  11. Not mentioned here is Buchholz is pretty good at inducing ground balls, making him a good fit for Fenway. He also posses the raw stuff toi’d defin get more K’s, the unspectacular walk rate is probably here to stay, though. I’d definitely sign him though. The risk is minimal, and the Sox can take the hit if he gets hurt or implodes.

    Comment by Mafrth77 — February 16, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  12. Agree.

    The real story in the article is what a freackin bargain Lester is turning out to be.

    I agree that I thought he was a 2-3, but he and Beckett have swapped roles, and for good reasons.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 16, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  13. Phrasing.

    Comment by marcello — February 16, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  14. I was surprised too. The old Lester did look a lot like Buchholz, didn’t he? But Lester’s K/9 has jumped nearly 50% since then. That’s stunning. Buchholz has strikeout stuff so he could improve a bit there, but probably not like Lester did. As Nate points out below, Lester was rebuilding his muscles after being treated for cancer.

    Comment by GregCK — February 16, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

  15. … and stayed healthy. He’s had some problems, IIRC.

    Comment by Brandon — February 16, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  16. I wouldn’t call them unspectacular and decent. Both rates are poor and the K rate is regressing rather quickly. I’m not sure what’s up with him, but he’ll have to fix it.

    Comment by Grant — February 16, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

  17. same thought. Lester struck out over 200 last season. 225 i think. that’s just crazy considering his low K rate before.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — February 16, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

  18. Buchholz was among the best pitchers in inducing swings and misses last year and yet had an average K rate.

    I think there’s a real chance his K rate bumps up to close to 8 next year. He’s got the stuff, the track record in the minors and the ability to cause swings and misses and the pros.

    I didn’t do the research myself, but it appeared as if there was a correlation between getting those swings and misses and getting K’s.

    Comment by Michael — February 16, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  19. Check out Buchholz’s swinging strike %, tied with Scherzer and Sabathia and 0.1% above Verlander. He’ll get his K’s in the future.

    Comment by Grant — February 16, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

  20. really?

    I think he has made incredible strides in the “focus” department. I really enjoyed watching him keep his game plan together during each outing, even if it hit a bump in the road.

    Comment by divakar — February 16, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  21. “I think there’s enough of a chance that he isn’t worth it to risk the extra money you’ll have to give him later if he IS worth it.

    Couldn’t have said it better. And I am Buchholz’s biggest fan. He was my first prospect obsession. I’m leery of his lowered K rate combined with a mediocre BB rate. No question he has the stuff to get better, but if this is what he is, he’s no Jon Lester.

    Comment by Jim — February 16, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

  22. With Reed Johnson, not really his fault. It was an ACL tear.

    Comment by Dealer A — February 16, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  23. He’s still learning the nuances of being a MLB pitcher and how to get out MLB batters. His minor league track record, stuff and velo portend better K rates in the future. I suppose he could end up a Garza type who never really pitches up to his stuff, but what he is now is pretty damn good (even though not as good as his shiny ERA would lead you to believe at first glance)… and either way that deal would be a bargain. You’d have to be pretty damn skeptical of him to think he won’t be a >1.5 win pitcher in what should be his prime.

    Comment by alskor — February 16, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

  24. He doesn’t have to be anywhere near Jon Lester to be a value at that deal though!

    Jon Lester is ridiculously, ridiculously underpaid.

    Comment by alskor — February 16, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

  25. As a different Red Sox fan, I don’t need any other seasons. He’s not as good as he was last season, but for 30m/5yr + team option I could really care less- he’s definitely worth more than 6m and even adjusted for arb that is a solid deal. If I’m the front office hearing that, I’d sit him down, say yes, and get the signatures before he changes his mind.

    Comment by B N — February 16, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

  26. This.

    Saying he isn’t worth getting the same money as Lester is like saying that nobody should extend a 3B prospect to something similar to what Longoria got unless they’re as good as Longoria. If you ran a business like that, you would very soon have no players at all (cough cough- MARLINS).

    Comment by B N — February 16, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

  27. I didn’t say that, I simply said he’s no Lester.

    Comment by Jim — February 17, 2011 @ 7:22 am

  28. JoeP, not sure if someone pointed this out, but wouldn’t a good reason to not sign him during spring training be the same reason for not *announcing* the Gonzo extension which is rumored to be in place, but that waiting until after opening day saves the Sox on the CBT? Though 30M and 154M are pretty big differences in what the tax penalty would actually be, wouldn’t any extension for Buchholz before opening day push them closer to/over/further over the 178M threshold?

    That being said, I would be glad if the Sox sign Buchholz to a team friendly extension, similar to Lester’s deal.

    Comment by bcp33bosox — February 17, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  29. For those referring to the K/W ratios, while not spectacular, you have to remember that he started off slowly. After 5/8, his ERA was 1.95 with a more respectable 95/50. And most of the damage post-5/8 was the game he return from the DL, and the game where he pitched with the extra day’s rest. If, and that’s a bit of a big if, if you ignore those two games, he’d have had 92/43 K/W and a 1.35 ERA.

    Comment by Joey B — February 17, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

  30. Lesters 1st year he had lymphoma, his 2nd year, was a recovery year. Comparing Buchholz to Lesters first 2 years makes no sense.

    Lesters had a breakout year in 2008, then the Red Sox offered him a contract extension in 2009.

    If Buchholz can boost his K rate in 2011, and keep runs off the board, he will get that extension. Bill James is not too keen on pitchers who make their living getting GB outs, amd sometimes the Red Sox listen to him. So Clay has to prove 2010 was not luck. I think he will, but no hurry for the Red Sox to work on an extension until after 2011.

    Comment by pft — February 18, 2011 @ 12:14 am

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