Sox sign Garrett Richards to a 1 year, $10 million deal

Rwillh11

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Richards is the kind of move that I and a lot of others have been thinking is best: he's an upside play. I just didn't really like Richards himself in that role. Others have made cases here that have me warming up to this as a reasonable gamble. I guess I'll make the case against him as the particular choice for that role, to explain my initial reaction (to be clear, I always preferred this over a much bigger Odorizzi deal):

- Richardson is 32, so he's not young, and the odds of a comeback get lower with age.
- It's been 5 years since he threw more than 76 innings, so this is not a single injury or a lost year or two.
- In all of his really good ERA seasons, he's substantially overperformed his SIERRA (and usually also FIP/xFIP). This worries me especially for 2016 and 2017 where his ERAs were in the 2s, but SIERRAs were ~1.5 runs higher, and he threw so few innings I don't expect the ERA to be predictive over SIERRA.

But his velocity is good, and apparently his spin rates were good last year, and he is one more year removed from the surgery compared even to 2020. The fact that it's only a one year commitment is also very nice for the team. On a more personal level, it will also be fun to root for him to pull it together and pitch well. I'll count myself as wary, by hopeful.
His injury history isn't as bad as the innings pitched track record makes it appear. He tore his UCL in 2016 and tried some newer/experimental treatments to avoid Tommy John. They didn't work out, leading to him having Tommy John in 2018 and missing most of 2018 and 2019. So it all stems from that one 2016 injury, and he got the surgery and came back healthy last year. Clearly, he is still unlikely to be a 30 starts, 180 innings guy, but it's also not a string of injuries - just one mismanaged injury.

On the other point, his Career ERA is 3.62 and his career FIP is 3.68 (xfip 3.75). In his two best years, 2014 and 2015, they were only slightly above his ERA. There is clearly some upside here if he is really healthy after Tommy John, so the flexibility of the option is really nice. Anyone available in this price range on short years is going to come with some degree of risk, but it seems like a reasonable upside play.
 

YTF

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He had TJ surgery in 2019 - and that injury in one form or another sidelined him for the seasons prior to that. (He opted for stem-cell treatment which obviously didn't work.)

2020 was his first post-TJ season.

I don't have very high expectations for him, but I'd expect a decent workload and reasonable ERA.
This. He wasn't horrible last year in his first post TJ season. Some pitchers continue their improvement in their second post surgery season. Nothing's a given, but if he can return to the promise he's always shown this could work out nicely. I think it's another decent signing to try to bolster the over all staff, but IMO there is still a need for at least a SOLID #2 type starter and closer unless they think they might have that among the the bodies now available. They're is also need for another impact outfielder.
 

Manramsclan

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I think this is a good start in establishing depth and hedging against none of the Pivetta/Seabold/Mata becoming a competent Major League starter this season. Richards is competent. He is a guy that needs a short leash at this point in his career. He got knocked around a lot last year on the Padres. He's at best a #4 starter right now and given that Ryan Weber was starting for this team last year he's an improvement.

Overall, this signing is a "meh" for me. I believe the value is appropriate and I believe there is some upside but not much.

I'd like to see one more move and hopefully the one I posted about in the "Who starts in 2021?" thread is it. (That's called a tease folks.)
 

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I think this is a good start in establishing depth and hedging against none of the Pivetta/Seabold/Mata becoming a competent Major League starter this season. Richards is competent. He is a guy that needs a short leash at this point in his career. He got knocked around a lot last year on the Padres. He's at best a #4 starter right now and given that Ryan Weber was starting for this team last year he's an improvement.

Overall, this signing is a "meh" for me. I believe the value is appropriate and I believe there is some upside but not much.

I'd like to see one more move and hopefully the one I posted about in the "Who starts in 2021?" thread is it. (That's called a tease folks.)
I don't see that in the game logs. He had one terrible start and two mediocre starts. And quite a few really good appearances, including pretty much all of September and 3 of 4 in the post-season.
 

Manramsclan

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I don't see that in the game logs. He had one terrible start and two mediocre starts. And quite a few really good appearances, including pretty much all of September and 3 of 4 in the post-season.
He pitched out of the bullpen in most of September and the post-season so I'm not sure if that makes your point. He was in the bullpen because he wasn't that great as a starter.

He walked 3 batters per 9, and he tended to give up his runs early in the game. The game logs do look better than I recall but I am certain that a few of them have the Padres bullpen to thank for that. (That last start in particular in SF he got pulled with runners on base.) He was demoted to the bullpen after that start.

The fact that he was effective pitching one inning at a time doesn't really inspire confidence in him as a starting pitcher.
 

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He pitched out of the bullpen in most of September and the post-season so I'm not sure if that makes your point. He was in the bullpen because he wasn't that great as a starter.

He walked 3 batters per 9, and he tended to give up his runs early in the game. The game logs do look better than I recall but I am certain that a few of them have the Padres bullpen to thank for that. (That last start in particular in SF he got pulled with runners on base.) He was demoted to the bullpen after that start.

The fact that he was effective pitching one inning at a time doesn't really inspire confidence in him as a starting pitcher.
I was simply commenting on your assertion that he got knocked around last year on the Padres. I just don't see it.

Hell, maybe he'll end up being a bullpen ace or a closer. I just like his arm and think more highly of him than you do.
 

grimshaw

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I watched him a lot last year. Throws mid 90's, but his slider is his best pitch. The Padres were extremely careful with him - only two starts over 90 pitches. Not sure about his stamina, but his stuff is great. I think this was a sneaky good signing and he could be a 3.
 

StuckOnYouk

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They really didn’t like Kluber’s workout, huh
I was listening to Dale and Keefe last week and Dale Arnold said that he knew for a fact that Kluber WANTED to pitch for Boston especially since he has two homes in the Boston area, but that the Red Sox either didn't even give an official offer or gave a lowball offer (can't remember which he said - I believe he said no offer at all).
I know people would say well what does Dale Arnold know, but regardless - take it for what it's worth.
 

Harry Hooper

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McAdam had this on the Sox and Kluber:

one of the factors said to have contributed to Kluber spurning the Red Sox in favor of the Yankees was the Red Sox’ insistence on a team option for 2022...The message is clear: the Sox want to limit their contractual liability when it comes to length, but they also insist on having further control on their terms. If you have a good year, they want the ability to bring you back on a favorable deal. If you perform poorly, they do not want to be saddled with you any longer than they have to and will be glad to limit their exposure to a single season.
 

Niastri

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The combination of actual results (low exit velocity and barrel%) combined with measurable effects of his stuff (fastball and curve spin rates are elite) seem to indicate huge upside.

Perhaps Bloom is all in on spin rates as a likely measure of future success? Pivetta is another guy recently acquired who hasn't done anything, but has elite spin rates.

If they can turn that into higher whiff rates and poor contact by using better tactics, those could be superb acquisitions. Bloom isn't betting the house, but he might be playing the odds in his mulligan year?

Edit: the anomaly seems to be his hard hit%... How can he be in the 20s in barrels and exit velocity, but only 60 in hard hit?
 

DJnVa

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There's a lot of hot takes in this thread that would have been mercilessly mocked in the not so recent past. Some of you folks are turning SoSH into the Comments Section or an EEI show.
 

Hee Sox Choi

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The combination of actual results (low exit velocity and barrel%) combined with measurable effects of his stuff (fastball and curve spin rates are elite) seem to indicate huge upside.
That blue isn't a low exit velocity, it means he has poor exit velo, as in HIGH. I should have included the bottom left portion. League-average exit velo was 88.3, Richards was 89.8. I was kinda excited about him until I saw his Statcast #s. These aren't very good.

EDIT: OK, see new Statcast chart above for POOR---AVG---GREAT.
 

allmanbro

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I'm really interested to see how they go about managing his innings. I assume for everyone on the staff, there will be a lot of skipped starts, a few turns of 6 man rotation, and a mid summer rest or two (like Pedro used to do). But what is Richards's realistic innings cap? 110? 120?

If they want to limit Richards more than others, do they, for instance, put him on an extended spring training and not call him up to the club until May? I'm not sure the status of those phantom DL trips any more. But that would have a benefit of giving a bit of extra run to Pivetta/Houk/Andriese to see if any can be solid starters, and also make it more likely he has innings left in the tank if they want to flip him in July. With the amount of injury risk on the staff overall, that is probably getting too cute, and you just have to throw whoever you can at any given time. But worth considering.
 

Rich Garces Belly

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I'm really interested to see how they go about managing his innings. I assume for everyone on the staff, there will be a lot of skipped starts, a few turns of 6 man rotation, and a mid summer rest or two (like Pedro used to do). But what is Richards's realistic innings cap? 110? 120?

If they want to limit Richards more than others, do they, for instance, put him on an extended spring training and not call him up to the club until May? I'm not sure the status of those phantom DL trips any more. But that would have a benefit of giving a bit of extra run to Pivetta/Houk/Andriese to see if any can be solid starters, and also make it more likely he has innings left in the tank if they want to flip him in July. With the amount of injury risk on the staff overall, that is probably getting too cute, and you just have to throw whoever you can at any given time. But worth considering.
I have been asking this for all of our starters and I feel a full 6 man rotation is best for 2021 (with who we have). Also by building in opener days to give a starter a day off every few times through the rotation with Andriese coming in as the bulk guy seems to make sense. By doing this I think it would prepare our starters to build upon it for a normal 2022 season and prevent some arm injuries.

Of course to make this successful you would need a deep stable of pitchers and a solid bullpen. Some pitchers would be bouncing regularly from Worcester to Boston and currently our weakness is our bullpen so I’m not sure how it would go.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Opening Day rotation looks something like this...

Rodriguez
Eovaldi
Richards
Perez
Pivetta

Andriese in the swing role

Worcester:
Houck
Mazza
Mata
Seabold
(non-40-man deep depth)
Weber
Shawaryn

Midseason off the IL:
Sale

Definitely see ways to manage inning totals for a bunch of guys. Also see room to add one more Andriese type who can possibly be a bulk guy in tandem with an opener.
 

nvalvo

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Opening Day rotation looks something like this...

Rodriguez
Eovaldi
Richards
Perez
Pivetta

Andriese in the swing role

Worcester:
Houck
Mazza
Mata
Seabold
(non-40-man deep depth)
Weber
Shawaryn

Midseason off the IL:
Sale

Definitely see ways to manage inning totals for a bunch of guys. Also see room to add one more Andriese type who can possibly be a bulk guy in tandem with an opener.
Also, Garrett Whitlock, The Other Garrett, was a Rule 5 guy and has to be on the 25 man or we lose him.
 

DeadlySplitter

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The combination of actual results (low exit velocity and barrel%) combined with measurable effects of his stuff (fastball and curve spin rates are elite) seem to indicate huge upside.
I'm not sure how to read some of this graph. 24% percentile on EV could mean he's letting up harder contact than 76% of other pitchers, not the other way around you are saying. anyone know the convention?

EDIT: Covered by Hee Choi. So yeah, it's all left to right, right the better. Now slightly above average at limiting hard hit rate, but EV being bad is probably a fluke, I'd imagine those correlate fairly well usually.

PRESUMABLY the best indicators for performance are the spin rates on the pitchers, velocity, and K/BB, and coaching can fix the rest. I am concerned how his stuff didn't translate to at least 9 K/9 (1 per inning).
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Also, Garrett Whitlock, The Other Garrett, was a Rule 5 guy and has to be on the 25 man or we lose him.
26-man. ;)

Yeah, I left him off mostly because I can't envision a Rule 5 guy who hasn't pitched above AA making the rotation out of spring training. They'll stash him in the pen if they hang on to him at all. Best case is maybe he's another bulk guy who follows an opener.
 

Manramsclan

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I was simply commenting on your assertion that he got knocked around last year on the Padres. I just don't see it.

Hell, maybe he'll end up being a bullpen ace or a closer. I just like his arm and think more highly of him than you do.
Did you watch the games at all? Not a dig, I am just wondering how much of this is context and anecdotal experience of the games resulting in an incorrect evaluation on my part.

The game logs do show better starts than I remember but they also show him getting cuffed by a crappy Seattle team. His next start he was pulled early was then banished to the bullpen for the remainder of the season where he looked great.

Perhaps it's recency bias but I also think there is something to be said that the Padres thought he was no longer one of their best 5 starters after the Clevinger trade. I think he could be a great bullpen arm. I would question why the Red Sox would be spending $10 Million on a great bullpen arm which is a poor allocation of resources, but I think he could excel in that role. I am not, however, very optimistic that he will be the starter they think he might be. I hope I am wrong.
 

Niastri

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That blue isn't a low exit velocity, it means he has poor exit velo, as in HIGH. I should have included the bottom left portion. League-average exit velo was 88.3, Richards was 89.8. I was kinda excited about him until I saw his Statcast #s. These aren't very good.

EDIT: OK, see new Statcast chart above for POOR---AVG---GREAT.
So the anomaly was my reading comprehension of the chart :(

With his superb curve and decent fastball, they must believe they can turn him around, either to help the Sox or as a flip. I'm willing to wait and see how the plan turns out. I've not yet seen a single move Bloom has made that felt like a head scratcher.
 

Manramsclan

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He does seem to give up a lot of hard contact though (Hard Hit % of 60%). I would imagine this is probably true of most guys who throw fastballs 95 and above but these stats and charts are pretty new to me also.
 

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Did you watch the games at all? Not a dig, I am just wondering how much of this is context and anecdotal experience of the games resulting in an incorrect evaluation on my part.

The game logs do show better starts than I remember but they also show him getting cuffed by a crappy Seattle team. His next start he was pulled early was then banished to the bullpen for the remainder of the season where he looked great.

Perhaps it's recency bias but I also think there is something to be said that the Padres thought he was no longer one of their best 5 starters after the Clevinger trade. I think he could be a great bullpen arm. I would question why the Red Sox would be spending $10 Million on a great bullpen arm which is a poor allocation of resources, but I think he could excel in that role. I am not, however, very optimistic that he will be the starter they think he might be. I hope I am wrong.
I don't think I watched him pitch at all. Honestly, your comment about his getting knocked around a lot prompted me to look at the game logs. I am evaluating him strictly from what I've seen from a very unscientific analysis of a little bit of date.
 

chawson

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The game logs do show better starts than I remember but they also show him getting cuffed by a crappy Seattle team. His next start he was pulled early was then banished to the bullpen for the remainder of the season where he looked great.

Perhaps it's recency bias but I also think there is something to be said that the Padres thought he was no longer one of their best 5 starters after the Clevinger trade. I think he could be a great bullpen arm. I would question why the Red Sox would be spending $10 Million on a great bullpen arm which is a poor allocation of resources, but I think he could excel in that role. I am not, however, very optimistic that he will be the starter they think he will be.
I don’t know that his move to the bullpen was especially punitive. He clearly had an innings cap after being hurt preceding years. After adding Clevinger it’s defensible to move Richards to a multi-inning relief role to ensure his health and effectiveness for a playoff run.

Who knows how many “innings” Richards threw rehabbing from March to late July, but he had to have gone 100 percent quite a bit in order to throw 96 mph heaters again.
 

grimshaw

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Damn, Kike sucks.

All kidding aside, do we have to discount spin rates of Angels products now or no?
We signed him to get more value out of Kiki. Win win.

Curious if the Sox had to promise Richards a starting rotation spot. I would imagine they did so he has a chance for one more multi year deal.

I'd much prefer a 6 man rotation while everyone is healthy or have a Richards/Pivetta piggy back. This likely will not be long with a rotation that includes Eovaldi, Richards and Rodriguez. Houck will be 25 in June. Let's see if he's a starter, power arm, or fungible.

They have a lot of flexibility. Pivetta is 5 bad starts away from a minor league contract, so it's not like he can complain about how they use him. They can limit Richards and Houck to 4 or 5 innings and avoid those 3rd trips around the order. If Martin Perez reverts to Martin Perez, they can make him a bulk guy. More rest for E-Rod and Nate = good.
 
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