Bargain starting pitchers the Giants should sign immediately
Giants free-agent target: Clay Buchholz
Former Boston Red Sox hurler Clay Buchholz latched on with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019, but a shoulder injury put him on the shelf for nearly half of the season.
Similar to Smyly, the results were not great for the veteran right-hander when he was healthy. Across 59 innings, Buchholz produced a 6.56 ERA, but a 5.62 FIP suggests he may have been the victim of a bit of bad luck.
However, the 35-year-old has an extensive track record of success.
Throughout his career, Buchholz has posted a 3.98 ERA and a 4.07 FIP across 1,332.1 innings. That includes a season as recently as 2018 where he produced a 2.01 ERA in 98.1 frames.
Despite that, Buchholz has been bitten by the injury bug often in the latter stages of his career. He has not eclipsed the 150-inning threshold since 2014 and his track record has rarely been one of durability.
At this point in his career, the question remains as to whether Buchholz’s body can handle the grind of a 162-game season. The right-hander indicated his willingness to continue his career in an interview with Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe in September of 2019:
"“I told my agent that, I feel like I’m capable of pitching as well as I did five or six years ago. It’s not about money. It’s about considering myself a major league pitcher… I told my agent that, I feel like I’m capable of pitching as well as I did five or six years ago. It’s not about money. It’s about considering myself a major league pitcher.”"
Buchholz definitely sounds like someone who wants to continue pitching in 2020. However, there have been few rumors involving his name this offseason. As teams begin to finalize their rosters in preparation of spring training, Buchholz may be in a position where he has to accept a less-than-ideal contract to continue his career.
Similar to Smyly, adding Buchholz on a bargain contract could prove to be a shrewd move as the Giants continue to scan the free-agent market for pitchers.