First Pitch: Thursday, September 8

143385.jpg

First Pitch: Thursday, September 8

By ArtMartone
CSNNE.com

Welcome to First Pitch, aquick spin around the world of Major League Baseball . . . or at leastthe corner of it that most concerns the Red Sox. For a complete wrapupof Wednesday's action, check out Craig Calcaterra's AndThatHappened(hardballtalk.nbcsports.com).

IF YOU HAVEN'T GOT ANYTHING GOOD TO SAY . . . then we can't really say a whole lot about the Red Sox' ghastly 11-10 loss to the Jays

Except that it means a continuation of Tim Wakefield's Sisyphian quest for his 200th win, thanks mostly to a Daniel Bard meltdown. (All stories and videos csnne.com)

Hmm. Yeah, that's about it.

SOME PEOPLE SAY WHY. I SAY WHY NOT? The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham thinks the place for Clay Buchholz, whenever he returns to action, is the starting rotation. But Curt Schilling doesn't think we'll be seeing much, if anything, of Buchholz come October. (weei.com)

ANOTHER MISSING PERSON: Nor, surprisingly, may we see much of Marco Scutaro at shortstop next month. (csnne.com) Or at least not as much as we'd expect.

I TAKE IT BACK. THERE IS SOME GOOD NEWS: Ex-big league catcher and manager Buck Martinez has seen a world of improvement in Jarrod Saltalamacchia since the beginning of the season. (Providence Journal)

AND A LITTLE MORE: The Sox didn't lose any ground to the Yankees in the A.L. East race, thanks the Orioles' 5-4, 10-inning win. (New York Post)

KEEP ON TRUCKING: More and more, it appears David Ortiz has some productive years left. The question is, will they be in Boston? (Boston Herald)

DON'T LOOK NOW . . . but it appears the Yankees have a better starting rotation than the Red Sox. (foxsports.com) It's one of the reasons the Sox are dropping in cbssports.com's Power Rankings.

BUT I DON'T FEEL THAT BAD: Jeff Francoeur threw out A's rookie Michael Tucker at first base from right field. "You kind of feel bad to do it to a guy playing his fourth game in the big leagues," said Francoeur. "But, hey, that was really fun." (Kansas City Star)

OLD FRIENDS: Victor Martinez has a chance to become the ninth player in the last 50 years to drive in 100 runs with 12 or fewer homers (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com) . . . Kevin Millwood, who spent most of the summer at Pawtucket, has been a feel-good story for the Rockies since joining Colorado, but he finally struggled Wednesday in a 5-3 loss to Arizona (AP) . . . Carl Pavano got his eighth win of the season (twinkietown.com) . . . Carlos Pena may only be hitting .227, but he hit his 26th homer in the Cubs' win over the Reds and is on pace to finish with an OPS over .800 for the fourth time in five years (rotoworld) . . . Yes, that was Coco Crisp's 40th stolen base. (AP)

AND FINALLY . . . Looks like this feud between Nyjer Morgan and the Cardinals is getting interesting. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Time for Red Sox to clear away Clay

boston-red-sox-clay-buchholz-71115.jpg

Time for Red Sox to clear away Clay

In our Early Edition production meeting, someone said Clay Buchholz was pitching for his job tonight.

Sorry, not anymore.

As soon as Steven Wright pitched well for the fifth straight time last night, Buchholz's train left the station. It’s time to do with Clay what the Sox did to Panda: Make up an injury, fake a surgery (okay, that’s all a bit of an overstatement with Sandoval) and get him out of the way.

As soon as the White Sox said goodbye to John Danks, we all said the same thing: If Chicago can do it, why can’t Boston? Danks was to start tonight against Buchholz, but the Chisox said "No more" and paid off the final year of his $65 million contract. The Bosox -- haven’t heard that term in a while, have you? -- could do the same with Clay and the $13 million he's owed for this season, plus a $500,000 buyout at the end of the year. 

David Price is the No. 1 starter and eventually he'll be fine. Eduardo Rodriquez gave up three runs in six innings last night for Pawtucket and will soon be ready to take his spot in the No. 2 slot. Then there's my pick to click, Rick Porcello (with a 2.76 ERA), and the previously mentioned Wright with his 1.76 ERA. Wright was supposed to be the odd man out when E-Rod returned, but that’s not happening. So there are your top four starters. And what about Joe Kelly when he comes back? I would rather see Kelly and anyone from Pawtucket pitch in the fifth spot instead of Buchholz and his 6.51 ERA.

Is there any reason to keep Buchholz?  Not that I can see. Clay can throw his second career no-hitter tonight and my feelings won't change.

It’s time to move on from Clay Buchholz.

MacPherson: No sense in shelving Sandoval unless you have to

tr_haggs0504161462376231103_3450k_1280x720_679230020000.jpg

MacPherson: No sense in shelving Sandoval unless you have to

Brian MacPherson calls in to Toucher & Rich to speak on the shoulder surgery Pablo Sandoval underwent, which will keep him out of use for the season.

McAdam: Sandoval's surgery just a temporary solution to Sox problem

red-sox-pablo-sandoval.jpg

McAdam: Sandoval's surgery just a temporary solution to Sox problem

CHICAGO -- His left shoulder surgically repaired, Pablo Sandoval is now out of sight and out of mind for the Red Sox.
     
Travis Shaw, who beat out Sandoval for the third base job in the spring, is showing that the Sox made the right move with his play at third and his strong start at the plate.
     
Shaw may not be a natural third baseman, or even an above-average one. But his range is superior to that of Sandoval and his offensive production strong.
     
The move was addition by subtraction. Disregard the salaries attached to both players: the Red Sox got better -- not worse -- when Shaw became the starter and Sandoval the stand-in.
    
But the notion that the Red Sox have arrived at some permanent solution here is a false one.
     
Yes, Sandoval will be gone from Fenway, exiled to Florida to rehab his shoulder, and perhaps, reshape his physique.
     
But he's not really disappearing. He'll just be in hiding for a few months. And when spring training begins next February, Sandoval will be a problem all over again for the Red Sox.
     
This surgery -- beyond repairing Sandoval's mysteriously injured shoulder - can be seen as kicking the can down the road. Sandoval's not really going away.
     
When 2017 begins, the Red Sox will still owe him $58 million over the next three seasons ($17 million in 2017, $18 million each in 2018 and 2019 and a $5 million option buyout for 2020).
     
For that, the Red Sox will get a player coming off major surgery who's performance has been in decline for several seasons, who can play only one position, and despite nominally being a switch-hitter, can actually only hit lefthanded.
     
What a treasure.
     
Trimming one year of salary off the $95 million mega deal signed by Sandoval helps some, but it's really only a small step. There's still a lot of money owed to a player who will soon turn 30.
     
In the unlikely event that a player with that profile could interest another team, Sandoval will start have to prove that he's healthy next spring. No team is going to take on even a portion of that contract without having it demonstrated that Sandoval's shoulder is in working condition.
     
Could Sandoval then be pawned off elsewhere? Perhaps. But it will require the Red Sox to subsidize a significant portion of that contract to faciliate a trade.
     
Whatever that price may be -- half of the reminaining money? - the Red Sox should pay it. It's clear that Sandoval won't ever be a contrbuting player in Boston.
     
The Red Sox have Shaw, just 25, as their third baseman of the present and future. They have Hanley Ramirez to either handle first base or slide into the DH vacancy to be created by David Ortiz's retirement.
     
If the Sox want Ramirez to remain at first, they could seek a veteran slugger like Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion to fill the DH job.
     
Or, they could have Ramirez move to DH and promote Sam Travis to be their first baseman.
     
Whatever plan they select, there's no role for Sandoval beyond "aging, overpaid, limited role player.''
     
That's not in anyone's best interest. So until the Red Sox find a more permanent solution, don't be fooled: Sandoval remains a burden - financially and otherwise -- who will, eventually, end up elsewhere.