Red Sox add to their rotation by signing Garrett Richards
After nothing but silence, the Boston Red Sox have been making moves the last few days and both will surely help in fixing their deficiencies. After bringing in Enrique Hernandez, Chaim Bloom and his team turned their attention back to the starting rotation yesterday by signing veteran righty Garrett Richards. The two sides agreed on a one-year/$10M deal with an option for 2022.
The rumors ramped up earlier yesterday with the whispers of this weekend bring the target for a deal to be done. When the signing was announced earlier this afternoon I was instantly against it. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around a team that has preached fiscal responsibility giving a guy who’s barely pitched since 2015 more money than he’s ever earned in a single season. It’s still a little hard to believe, but that may be the desperation that has now found its way to Fenway Park.
Earlier this week, we heard the news that the team wouldn’t be rushing Chris Sale back anytime soon, and if the season is lost early, I doubt we’ll see The Condor in 2021. There’s still hope that Eduardo Rodriguez will be back and can be something close to the workhorse we saw in 2019. But there is still a massive cloud of uncertainty hovering over this starting rotation which makes today’s signing a bit more logical.
Boston’s need to add arms that can get the job done on the mound is more clear than ever after the 2020 debacle. Bloom knows he can’t trot out a parade of randoms and bums like he was able to this season, once again this is a good spot for Richards. Before his injury issues took hold he was an ace for the Los Angeles Angels and showed tons of promise, the Red Sox are hoping he can once again find that groove.
I appreciate Bloom’s optimism that Richards can be the guy they need to fill the void in the rotation right now but I keep looking at the price tag. Having a low price/ high potential player is what the Red Sox are shooting to achieve right now and Richards falls right into that category, except he didn’t come that cheap. That $10M salary is fully guaranteed, going against everything we have heard from the Boston front office as of late.
Granted it’s just a drop in the bucket of their budget, there are other routes they could’ve gone to achieve the righty’s services. They could still draw up a plan that nets him that money once all is said and done in 2021 but it could’ve been achieved using a much smaller base. Create a low foundation/ high incentive contract that gets the pitcher where he needs to be if he can hit the marks Boston needs him to. This would’ve fallen more in line with what we’ve seen from Bloom and his team during his tenure as it would’ve kept them from breaking the bank.
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Let’s get back to the main point here, yes it’s a bit curious that the team would hand over a guaranteed $10M contract but if Richards can stay healthy, he’s worth every penny. In his last full season, Richards was able to toss 207.1 innings and finished with a 3.65 ERA and 1.240 WHIP. He’s already better than a majority of guys that started games for the Red Sox last year and even if he’s pushed out of the rotation, he can be a massive boost to the bullpen. I’m not sure things will get to that because I find it hard to see Sale back this year, especially if April and May are lost causes.
E-Rod is set to lead the charge with Nathan Eovaldi, Martín Pérez, Tanner Houck, and Nick Pivetta behind him. As of now, I’d guess that Richards and another recent signee, Matt Andriese, will battle it out for a possible sixth spot if Alex Cora chooses to go that route. For the salary he’s receiving I doubt the Red Sox want Richards in the bullpen so we may see a triple-threat for that fifth spot between him, Andriese, and Pivetta.
You can look at the stats and you can see the time on the IL but when the dust settles, Garrett Richards is one hell of a pitcher. It’s been said by numerous people that cover the game as well as those that know pitching. If he’s healthy and ready to rock he can easily be one of the better pitchers on this staff in 2021. Part of me is still a bit nervous that this may be an expensive mistake, but another part has me excited to see if we got a guy that can dominate for a good price.