San Diego Padres: Clayton Richard Has To Lead Pitching Staff

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 16: Clayton Richard
SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 16: Clayton Richard /

Clayton Richard is the elder statesman of the San Diego Padres pitching staff. At 34-years-old, Richard will be looked to as a source of veteran leadership to the Friars’ young hurlers.

Barring a roster move before Opening Day, Clayton Richard will head into the 2018 season as the San Diego Padres’ number-one starter. Of course, if Friars’ GM A.J. Preller can pull another rabbit out of his hat and land a bonafide ace like Chris Archer, the landscape of this team’s pitching staff could change quickly.

But that’s another conversation for another time. We are going to assume that this current group is the group that the Padres will head into the regular-season with. As much as adding a true-ace to the Friars pitching corps would improve this team, the squad that’s currently in navy-blue in Peoria, AZ isn’t all that bad themselves.

Young studs like Dinelson Lamet and Luis Perdomo are coming into their own as MLB-pitchers. While their numbers from last season may not jump off of the page at you, they were more effective than their statistics may lead you to believe. And they are projected to only get better.

They both are prone to inducing ground-balls, which should play well this season with Freddy Galvis beginning his tenure as the San Diego Padres’ new shortstop. Carlos Asuaje, the projected starter at second base, has a fantastic glove as well. This should result in, at the very least, an uptick in their effectiveness and it should limit their load, pitch-count-wise.

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What needs to happen for the San Diego Padres’ pitching staff to succeed?

For everything to work out as San Diego Padres manager Andy Green envisions, Clayton Richard will need to not only pitch well, but he’s going to need to play the role of part-time pitching coach, part-time older-brother, and part-time friend.

There will undoubtedly be times this season when Perdomo, Lamet, or even the Friars other young pitchers like Matt Strahm or the newly-acquired Bryan Mitchell will need some veteran advice or a pick-me-up after a tough outing.

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Clayton Richard has been in this league long enough to know how much a veteran reaching out or being there for a young teammate can help turn things around. The San Diego Padres could most certainly use every ounce of mentor that he has in him this season.