Red Sox deal Clay Buchholz to Phillies for minor leaguer

BOSTON — Clay Buchholz, the longest-tenured member of the Boston Red Sox pitching staff, has been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for minor league second baseman Josh Tobias, the teams announced Tuesday.

The Red Sox picked up their $13.5 million option on Buchholz’s contract at the end of last season, but there was always a possibility he could be traded in the offseason. It became almost inevitable two weeks ago after the Red Sox completed a blockbuster trade for ace left-hander Chris Sale, giving Boston seven major league starting pitchers.

Although the Red Sox could have opted to trade lefty Drew Pomeranz — and would have obtained a greater return for him by virtue of his lower salary and a contract that is controllable through 2018 — multiple teams that spoke with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski during and after the winter meetings suggested he strongly preferred to move Buchholz, who is eligible for free agency after this season. The Phillies agreed to pay his 2017 salary, which also decreased the prospect value the Red Sox received.

Buchholz spent 10 seasons with the Red Sox, and expectations for him were impossibly high from almost…