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Baseball Arbitration Comes Early for Clay Buchholz

Monday, April, 11, 2011

Baseball arbitration came early for Red Sox player, Clay Buchholz.  The Texas-born pitcher was supposed to become eligible for the process next winter and, in the meantime, his one-year contract for $555,000 would remain in effect.  In a surprise move, however, Buchholz has announced that he's gone to arbitration early.  The payoff is a $30 million, four-year extension to his existing contract.

Other players have gotten comparable deals in the recent past:  Ricky Romero of the Toronto Blue Jays agreed to a five-year contract worth $30.1 million last summer and in 2009, and Jon Lester signed a five-year salary deal worth $30 million.

Baseball Arbitration Protects Both Parties' Interests

Buchholz is slated to make $30 million minimum from this contract extension, but the deal hardly caps his salary.  Options are built in for the 2016 and 2017 baseball season, each of them worth a minimum of an additional $13 million.  These options are advantageous for the Red Sox organization since they give the team flexibility in case Buchholz does not perform to expectations on the pitching mound.  "It seems to make sense," says Theo Epstein, general manager of the Red Sox organization.

At the same time, the $30 million already guaranteed provides the player with a guaranteed salary baseline over the next four years.  Without the deal, Buchholz would have been entitled to three years of salary arbitration followed by one year of free agency.