BOSTON -- The Red Sox exercised Clay Buchholz's $13.5 million option for 2017 on Thursday, making it likely the righty will return for an 11th season with the club that drafted him.
Boston has six established starting pitchers set to return next season, including David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright and Buchholz. There's a chance one of the starters could be dealt this winter to help fill another need on the club.
But with not much starting depth in the upper level of the Minors, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski could stick with the established starters he has. Buchholz proved last year he can also be effective in the bullpen.
Boston also exercised the $17.2 million option on David Ortiz's contract for next season, as a formality. The franchise legend is still expected to retire this offseason. By picking up the option, the Red Sox prevent Ortiz from becoming a free agent if the slugger stunningly reverses course.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox declined catcher Ryan Hanigan's $3.75 million option for 2017 and will instead pay an $800,000 buyout that allows him to become a free agent. Hanigan played 35 games as a backup catcher in his second season with the team. The 36-year-old veteran hit .171 with one home run and 14 RBIs.
The Red Sox have Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart all under team control next season, lessening the need for Hanigan.
As for Buchholz, the 32-year-old right-hander went 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA in 37 games (21 starts) in 2016. Buchholz, who was selected by the Red Sox with the 42nd pick in the 2005 Draft, is slated to hit free agency following the '17 season.
Rounding out their roster moves, the Red Sox reinstated third baseman Pablo Sandoval, outfielder/catcher Swihart and right-handers Carson Smith and Brandon Workman from the 60-day disabled list. They also reinstated infielder Josh Rutledge from the 60-day DL and outrighted him to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.