Given the pure volume of trades that the Red Sox made at the deadline on Thursday, former Boston Bruin Shawn Thornton expressed concern at the 2014 Buchholz Bowl at Jillian’s and Lucky Strike Lanes in Boston.
“I’m coming to the game on Saturday and they might need me to pitch,” Thornton chuckled.
The former Bruins left wing was not far off, however. Following the trades on Thursday, Clay Buchholz was the only pitcher in the current Red Sox rotation who was a part of the group on Opening Day.
Jon Lester and John Lackey not only represented the team’s most consistent pitchers, but also provided leadership for the group in the clubhouse. Buchholz said that he was slightly shocked to see two of his rotation mates shipped out of town.
“To be able to make friends and be lucky enough to be with the guys that I’ve been around, it’s a little different,” Buchholz said. “That’s the business side of baseball. Hopefully, they can make a move on and help another team reach the playoffs and reach another World Series.”
As the pitcher with the most experience on the staff, Buchholz would appear to be the de facto leader for the rotation. When asked if he was ready to lead the group, Buchholz was noncommittal and instead started to talk about his health.
“I feel good where I’m at right now. I feel healthy,” Buchholz said. “Obviously, the numbers haven’t gone the way that I wanted it to this season yet, but if I have 10, 11, 12 starts left, I’m going to go out there and treat it like it’s another game and go out and try to do the best I can to help the team win.”
Both Lester and Lackey served as significant influences on Buchholz during his career with the Red Sox. Lackey was a veteran who won the deciding game in a World Series on two separate on occasions. Lester, in Buchholz’s eyes, was the dictionary definition of an ace. Seeing the duo leave Boston was not what Buchholz hoped would happen when the season started.
“You’re hoping when this time comes around, the season is going the way you want it to go and you’re adding people instead of taking them away,” Buchholz said. “Like I said, part of the game and that’s the business side of it and nothing really anybody can do about it.”
Reliever Craig Breslow says that the front office set out to address an apparent need and did its job.
“There are certainly some holes in our rotation now that need to be filled, but we’re hoping some of the guys we got back can step in with the young guys we have and play out the season and see what happens,” Breslow said. “By no means will the guys that are currently in the clubhouse give up.”
Breslow said his surprise after hearing of the trades was mostly rooted in his belief that most trade rumors ultimately don’t come to fruition.
“You have to credit the front office,” Breslow said. “[They're] keeping an eye on the bigger picture, feeling like they had needs to address and having the nerve to do it.”
Jackie Bradley Jr., who went through his first trade deadline as a major leaguer, said he did not know what to expect.
“I’m the new guy here. It’s definitely one of the newer things that I had to hear about,” Bradley said. “I didn’t know about any of it until just recently.”
Following the exit of Lester, Lackey, Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew, Breslow said that change in the clubhouse is bound to occur.
“Those guys are friends, teammates, they’re professionals, they’re a veteran presence that some of the young guys were able to look to in terms of learning the ropes of the big league life,” Breslow said. “Now, it’ll certainly become necessary for the other guys to step up.”