It's easy to forget that Clay Buchholz is still pitching in the big leagues. And yet, there he was, on the mound at Rogers Centre Thursday night, pitching against the Red Sox for the first time in his career.
At this point, Buchholz is barely hanging on. He made his ninth start of the season Thursday and gave up four runs in four innings in the Red Sox' 7-4 win, resulting in a 5.63 ERA and a 1-5 record. The Blue Jays are his fourth organization in the last four seasons, following the Sox, Philadelphia and Arizona.
But he's relevant not because at 35 he would seem to be coming to an end, but because of what he symbolizes for his former team. Three years after he threw his last pitch in Boston and a dozen years removed from his major league debut, Buchholz remains the last starting pitcher of note the Red Sox have developed for their own rotation.
Buchholz displayed some inconsistency, was prone to injuries and probably didn't meet expectations. But he did win in double figures three times, exceeded 170 innings three times and twice posted an ERA below 2.35.
From a position player standpoint, the Red Sox could hardly have been more successful in the last decade. With the exception of J.D. Martinez at DH, the Red Sox can -- and have -- regularly fielded position players who are homegrown, a group that includes Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts.
But as fertile as their developmental system has been when it comes to churning out hitters and even a number of quality bullpen arms (Matt Barnes, Brandon Workman and Darwinzon Hernandez), they've been inept in scouting and graduating starters to the big league team.