Tag: taylor buchholz

Pridie Gone, Evans and Buchholz Free

The Oakland Athletics have signed Jason Pridie, who was waived by the Mets a few days ago and exercised his right to become a free agent.

Interesting the Pridie was able to find employment so quickly. Just as interesting, that the great genius Himself — Billy Beane — is who signed him. Makes you wonder: did the brilliant Mets front office blunder? Which of Pridie’s stats is Beane looking at and deeming a market inefficiency? Is Pridie the next Scott Hatteberg? Inquiring minds want to know …

In all seriousness, I like Pridie and believed it made sense for the Mets to keep him around. But, the fact they let him go makes me believe that the Mets will tender a contract to Angel Pagan, since there are no other centerfielders in the organization with MLB experience (OK, maybe you can count Fernando Martinez and Jason Bay). Not that Pridie would have had a shot at starting in 2012, but he was a solid backup. What do you think? Is this a move designed to insure that Captain Kirk Nieuwenhuis moves up the totem pole and gets a legit shot at MLB playing time in 2012? If so I’m happy with that plan.

In other news, both Nick Evans and Taylor Buchholz have officially declared free agency. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will flee Flushing. But it does mean they are free to explore all options. I know that Evans is not likely to become an everyday player for a championship team, but I do believe he has value to someone. I can see him turning into a Garrett Jones — getting a chance to play fairly regularly for a bad team, putting up surprising power numbers, and making a decent living for himself as part-time MLBer. I also still think he should consider donning the tools of ignorance, just to add some value as an emergency backstop.

As for Buchholz, there is still a question as to whether he will pitch for anyone in 2012, since he is still dealing with depression. I believe that a healthy Buchholz can be a solid middle reliever. But, I also put his need to heal from his mental issues over my desire for him to pitch for the Mets, and if to become mentally healthy it makes more sense for him to play elsewhere, I’m not going to begrudge the guy nor get upset about him leaving. Obviously I have no knowledge of the details of his challenges but I do know that New York is one of the most stressful places in the world to live and work — even if one is not a MLB player. Buchholz seems like a nice kid with legit talent so I hope he gets through this and is able to play baseball again, be it in New York or elsewhere — if that’s what he wants to do.

Two other former Mets free agents are in the news: Omar Minaya and Bobby Valentine. Both, apparently, are being considered for jobs with the Boston Red Sox. Interesting, no?


2011 Analysis: Taylor Buchholz

Last winter, many would have been ecstatic to hear that the Mets acquired a pitcher named Buchholz — had his first name been “Clay”. Instead, the team signed Clay’s distant cousin Taylor.

It was a low-risk, low-reward signing that to me made sense. After all, Buchholz was once one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, sporting a 97 MPH fastball and a 12-6 deuce that invited swings and misses. All those curves and heaters take a beating on the elbow, however, and the Mets picked him up two years removed from Tommy John surgery. The velocity was nowhere near what it once was, but it was good enough when combined with that hard-breaking yellow hammer. Unfortunately, Buchholz suffered from a shoulder problem and then anxiety issues that knocked him out for most of the season.

When he did pitch, Buchholz showed flashes of effectiveness — though, success was inevitably tied to his ability to control his curve. His fastball velocity was in the low 90s range and had little movement, and he occasionally struggled mightily with his release point — there were brief periods during a game when he simply could not throw a strike. That may or may not have been due to the shoulder issue, or his elbow recovery. But even when he had command of the fastball, his effectiveness still was reliant on how hard the curve was biting and whether he could keep it near the strike zone.

2012 Projection

It’s difficult to know whether the Mets will re-up Buchholz, who was signed to a one-year deal. Considering that his season ended in July due to a bout with depression, I hope that the Mets at least make him a minor league offer — if he’s mentally ready to make a return to baseball in the spring. Because physically, he seemed to be OK and on the right track back toward being a reliable reliever.


Mets Get Buchholz, Capuano

No, not Clay Buchholz (unfortunately), but TAYLOR Buchholz, who happens to be Clay’s “distant” cousin … though, I’m not sure what that means nor if it helps him pitch. The Mets signed the 29-year-oldTaylor Buchholz to a one-year, non-guaranteed, $600,000 contract. I like this signing, a lot.

At the same time, the Mets announced the signing of LHP Chris Capuano to a one-year, $1.5M deal. For me that seems a little hefty in price for someone who is both a huge question mark due to health and at best a so-so innings eather, but, again, I like acquisition. Heck, it’s guaranteed to be more fruitful than the $1.5M handed to Kelvim Escobar last year, based on the theory that Capuano can grip an object heavier than the pen he used to sign the contract.

All half-kidding aside, Capuano is a solid risk/reward signing (you can choose the levels of risk and reward; I’m going with high/low), and mentioned as much in a post about risky pitchers back in November. I also suggested Capuano last winter, and the winter before — so clearly, I have some kind of positive feeling for the crafty lefthander.

It’s true: I genuinely like Capuano, and I like rolling the dice on him with a fairly inexpensive, one-year contract. Why? Because he found decent success as a soft-tossing, crafty, workhorse starter before Tommy John surgery, and upon his return has discovered a hint more “giddyup” on his fastball than he had before. Capuano didn’t pitch at all in 2008, accumulated only 9 minor-league innings in 2009, and another 40 minor-league innings in 2010 before appearing in 24 MLB games (9 starts) and hurling 66 innings. He’s healthy, he still has his control, his nasty changeup, decent slider, and his lethal pickoff move; only now, he has a fastball that occasionally tops out at 92-93 (but generally rides in the 87-88 range). Personally, I think Capuano is a safe bet to be better than Jeff Francis or Chris Young in 2011; you heard it here first.

As for Buchholz, again, I like the signing and again, it’s a gamble on a guy who is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. There was a time that Taylor — not Clay — Buchholz was one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, sporting a 97-MPH fastball and a biting 12-6 curve. I always thought he had enough stuff to be a starter, but he was quickly moved into a bullpen role to take advantage of his velocity and swing-and-miss stuff. He had an outstanding year out of the Rockies ‘pen in 2008 before missing all of ’09 due to the elbow surgery. According to most reports, he was still building back his strength last year when he appeared in 33 innings of Major and Minor league ball. Once a power arm who zipped in the upper-90s, Buchholz returned last year at 92-93 — which isn’t bad, but isn’t enough for someone who relied on velocity to overpower hitters. One of two things can happen with Buchholz: either he regains his 95-97 MPH form, or he find a way to get outs with less velocity. Either way, I still believe he is worth the risk, and mildly surprised the Mets were able to sign him for only $600K.

Both signings may be ho-hum on the surface, but either (or both) could turn out to be huge — not unlike the similarly hum-drum signing of R.A. Dickey last winter.