FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Players sign long-term contracts before they reach free agency precisely because of what happened to Clay Buchholz last year, when a stress fracture in his lower back left him unable to pitch in the final three and a half months of the season. That being the case, Buchholz suggested that he was relieved, in retrospect, that he signed his four-year, $29.945 million deal with the Sox last April. The deal takes effect this season, and runs through 2015 with team options for 2016 and 2017.
"That was something I would have beat myself over if I hadn’t signed a contract, had this last year and got hurt and wasn’t able to pitch," said Buchholz. "That would have been hard for me, because I would have definitely pushed myself to get back a lot sooner and maybe hurt myself worse. That helped out a little bit."
Still, Buchholz noted, the relief of having financial security did not offset the disappointment of being unable to pitch, especially given the impact that his absence had on the Red Sox pitching staff.
"All my friends told me in the offseason, ‘Hey, at least you signed a contract,’" said Buchholz. "But it’s like if you’re on a losing team and people say, ‘At least you get to lose in the big leagues.’ Losing gets old, regardless of how much money you’re making."