Matt Meyers, ESPN Insider: The one guy I can't figure out is Clay Buchholz. The Red Sox righty burst on the scene with a no-hitter in 2007, but has not been able to sustain any sort of success in the majors. However, his 2.36 ERA and 8.1 K/9 at Triple-A this season show us he has little left to prove in the minors. I'll channel my inner Jerry Seinfeld and ask, "What's the deal with Clay Buchholz?"• Today's Hit List finds the Yankees edging out the Dodgers for the top spot by a single Hit List Factor point, a gap closed by last night's 11-1 win for the Yanks as the Dodgers sat idle. The real fun is further down the list:
John Perrotto: There are some around the Red Sox who believe Buchholz enjoyed the trappings of the immediate stardom that came with throwing a no-hitter in his second career start, and that was a major distraction. You can get by on pure stuff in Triple-A, but it's a different story in the majors.
Marc Normandin: Agreed. Buchholz has great stuff, and he throws a ton of first-pitch strikes. But for some reason, he walks too many hitters (4.9 BB/9 for his MLB career). He needs to sort out the "how" of pitching to go along with his natural talent.
Jay Jaffe: I think it's fair to say that few players in baseball have had as much pressure thrust upon them as Buchholz. Ever since the no-hitter, his name has been floated as the key to so many potential big trades (Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez), so every lousy start raises the question of, "What if they'd traded him for X ... "
[#12 Blue Jays] Talentless: J.P. Ricciardi makes the biggest salary dump in baseball history when he lets Alex Rios go to the White Sox via waivers for nothing but salary relief from the $61 million remaining on his contract through (gulp) 2014. It's a move which obviously saves the Jays a pretty penny, but it's merely the latest embarrassing gaffe in a series which has seen the GM's name become synonymous with awful contracts, not to mention some awkward attempts to evade their full impact. On the field, Marco Scutaro continues to be the exception that proves the rule when it comes to Ricciardi's penchant for buying high; he's hitting .296/.387/.441 and ranking in the top five in both walks and runs while earning a base salary of $1.1 million.For some reason, the Jays are often one of the last team's I get to when I'm writing the weekly Hit List, but they move to the front of the line when Ricciardi gets on a roll with his idiotic antics. And for that, I'm very grateful.
[#13 White Sox] My Final Offer is This: Nothing: The White Sox score themselves a potential long-term solution in center field by claiming Alex Rios on waivers from the Blue Jays and refusing to submit to J.P. Ricciardi's demands of any talent in return to offset the $61 million remaining on his deal. It's a bold and obviously costly move, but his defensive numbers suggest he can cover the middle pasture which more easily justifies the investment in a 28-year-old hitting to a .275 EqA tune in a down year. Add in the fact that Jake Peavy is beginning a rehab assignment, and it's clear the AL Central race is about to get interesting.
[#21 Mets] No Drama: It's a relatively uneventful week for the Mets, with no executive firings or pratfalls, just peace, quiet and losing as befits a team whose Playoff Odds have fallen below 0.2 percent. The team does reward those masochistic enough to still pa attention with another injury setback (Carlos Delgado) and some late-inning heartbreak, as Francisco Rodriguez yields five ninth-inning runs to the Padres in Petco, an occurrence whose extreme unlikelihood breaks the Baseball Prospectus Infinite Improbability Drive.
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