Opening Day starter Clayton Richard has been the backbone of the San Diego Padres’ pitching unit, however, if he continues to implode as he did against the Mets on Wednesday, his days in the organization may be numbered.
After finishing 2017 with an earned run average of 4.79, San Diego Padres LHP Clayton Richard looks to be treading the same path this year. In 132 innings pitched, he possesses an earned run average of 5.05, a FIP of 4.40, and a WAR of 1.0. Much of his 2018 numbers look very similar to last year’s results, except for a large increase in the number of walks given up.
In 2016, when the Padres signed Richard to a two-year, $6 million contract, the expectation was that he would eat up innings, accumulate quality starts, and most importantly, be a guiding force and a leader to a young Padres’ pitching group. However, with Richard struggling on the mound, the Padres’ front office might already be looking elsewhere.
Unfortunately, his July results aren’t giving fans, or other ballclubs, any confidence. In 25 innings pitched, he has conceded 23 earned runs, 20 walks, and has yielded three round-trippers. His ERA over the month sits at 8.28 with opposing teams working a .425 OBP and a .283 batting average against him. For reference, he walked just 59 batters in 197 innings all of last season.
He took a perfect game into the fifth inning of his last start before the wheels came off and July Clayton Richard decided to show up.
Can the San Diego Padres find a new home for Richard? Do they want to?
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Left-handed pitchers always seem to grab more attention and this might work in favor of the Friars. There are playoff-bound teams who could benefit by using Richard either in a relief role or as a starter. He’s 34 years old but has proven to be a positive veteran influence on many of the younger pitchers in the Padres system.
He has one more year of control, slated to earn just $3 million next season before becoming a free agent. Teams like the Atlanta Braves and Oakland Athletics both need pitching as they look to make a playoff push this season.
While Richard would not bring much back in return, trading him would open the door for younger, deserving arms to get a chance in the rotation.
The trade deadline isn’t until July 31st and the San Diego Padres appear to be very active. While the Clayton Richard rumors are few and far between, can we rule anything out with A.J. Preller at the helm?