BOSTON, MA - APRIL 9: Clay Buchholz #11 of the Boston Red Sox throws against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park April 9, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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The Boston Red Sox have signed 26-year-old starting pitcher Clay Buchholz to a four-year, $30.5 million extension with two club options. The contract buys out all three of Buchholz' arbitration seasons, plus his first year of free agency. Fellow Sox pitcher Jon Lester had signed a similar five-year, $30 million contract a couple years earlier, and Buchholz had cited that deal as a potential model for his own extension:
"I think that would definitely be a base model for it — numbers-wise, security reasons, I think every player with less than three years of service time, that’s what they strive for," said Buchholz. "I’m not saying I’m as good as Lester or I deserve what he got, but just from the other guys who signed their deal in the past year or so with the same service, I think that’s definitely a good starting point if there ever was one."
Buchholz is a former top prospect who pitched well last season, going 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 173.2 innings. Health permitting, he's a good bet to be a fairly reliable member of the Sox rotation and earn his $30.5 million. In addition, the club options give the Red Sox a lot of flexibility.