By John Aubin, Red Sox Correspondent, Wed, Feb 18th 9:28am EST
For the first time in his professional career, his performance in a single season will determine what kind of contract will be waiting for him the next year. Clay Buchholz, you see, is in the last guaranteed year of his current deal.
The righty was locked up by the Red Sox via a four-year, $29.945 extension that carries a $13 million club option for 2016 and a 2017 club option for $13.5 million. Because of the deal Buchholz never got to experience arbitration, while also blowing through what would have been his free agent year in 2014 (earning $7.7 million).
It's currently hard to argue the merits of Buchholz's decision to sign the deal so early in his big league tenure. That first year, after inking his deal, he suffered a stress fracture in his back. Then, in what would have been his contract year, he experienced the worst campaign of his career. (Source: WEEI
Fantasy Impact: Clay Buchholz had a terrible fantasy season last year, dealing with minor injuries and finishing with a 5.34 earned run average. After the Red Sox shook up their staff, Buchholz has an opportunity to be the ace. He has had bouts of greatness in his career (1.74 earned run average in 2013) along with periods of inconsistency. It is hard to tell which Clay Buchholz will show up. But his current ADP makes him a no risk pick at the end of drafts. He could make a comeback this year being fully healthy and with a contract situation looming.