Are you ready for some shocking news?
I’m talking mind-blowing, oh-my-goodness-gracious, wish-you-were-wearing-Depends news.
Here it comes:
Minor league players would rather be in the major leagues.
That’s my reaction to an interview that Clay Buchholz did a few days ago with NECN that appears to be growing into a minor controversy.
You can see the interview here.
(photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
In the interview, Buchholz admits that he’s growing frustrated with the abundance of starting pitchers in Boston.
“There’s nowhere to go, and it’s sort of a logjam up there (in Boston),” Buchholz told NECN. “Whenever they come to a problem, they seem like they find a way to fix it without me being in the picture. It is what it is — it’s frustrating at times.”
Buchholz added that while he would like to help the Red Sox return to the World Series, he wouldn’t mind being traded if that meant an opportunity to be in the major leagues.
“I feel like I’m more equipped with everything that I have right now — as far the pitches, and the mental aspect and I’m physically healthy — to be up there and helping that team,” Buchholz said. “And if not that team, I want to be in the big leagues and I do want to go somewhere where I’ll be able to play and pitch every fifth day.”
As I drove to the ballpark yesterday, I listened to one of the hosts on WEEI cite this interview as proof of Buchholz’s mounting frustration as if it were a crisis. When manager Ron Johnson sat down with reporters before Monday’s rainout, one of the first questions he received was, “What is your reaction to Clay Buchholz’s comments to NECN.” (RJ had no idea what the person was talking about).
Today in the Boston Globe, Tony Massarotti made mention of how Buchholz “expressed his frustration with his situation over the weekend.”
Here’s the deal. Of course Clay is frustrated – who wouldn’t be? He’s too good for the International League and he’s eager to show what he can do at the major league level.
The Red Sox are conscious of that and RJ has had several conversations with Buchholz about being “stuck” in Triple-A.
What’s important to stress is that Buchholz is not walking around complaining and isn’t demanding a trade – he simply stated the obvious in response to a reporter’s question – that he wants to pitch in the big leagues as soon as possible. I’m sure his preference would be to pitch for Boston, but if there’s no room with the Red Sox, he wouldn’t mind going elsewhere.
That may disappoint some Boston fans, but in 20-plus years of being around pro baseball players, I’ve only met one player in Triple-A who said he wouldn’t want to be traded if it meant an immediate opportunity to go to the big leagues – it was Dustin Pedroia in 2006.
Being in Pawtucket this year has been a good thing for Clay Buchholz. He’s re-established his dominance in a low-pressure situation, got his old confidence back, and has been pulled from games with low pitch counts allowing him to “save bullets” for later in the season with Boston.
The Red Sox have two starting pitchers in their 40’s (Tim Wakefield and John Smoltz) and another starter on a one-year contract (Brad Penny). Baring an injury or trade, Buchholz might be in Pawtucket for another month or two, but he’s eventually going to be in Boston’s rotation.
And he’s going to be great.
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