It’s turning into quite the busy weekend for the Red Sox after a painfully slow offseason prior to it. After agreeing to terms on a two-year deal with Enrique Hernández on Friday, the Red Sox reportedly have another in place on Saturday. Jeff Passan is reporting that Boston is in agreement for a one-year deal worth $10 million with right-handed starter Garrett Richards.
Starter Garrett Richards and the Boston Red Sox are in agreement on a one-year, $10 million deal, pending physical, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 23, 2021
Alex Speier adds that there is an option for a second year as well for the same salary, though it’s not clear exactly what kind of option it is.
The Richards option for 2022 is for $10M. It includes escalators that would increase both the option salary and the cost of the buyout. https://t.co/0cmA3LXjmg— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) January 23, 2021
This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, of course, as the Red Sox were rumored to have been in active conversations with the righty Friday night. As noted in the linked post, this is a high-risk but reward kind of pitcher, though the risk is mitigated with just one year being guaranteed. The money is a little more than I would have thought, but with the single year guarantee I’m okay paying up a bit in the salary.
Richards had pitched like a good two or three starter earlier in his career and has shown flashes more recently, but health has been a major issue. Going back to 2016 through 2019, he made more than six starts just once in that stretch and hasn’t topped 76 1⁄3 innings. The 32-year-old (he’ll turn 33 in May) was healthy for the shortened 2020 season, tossing 51 1⁄3 innings with a 4.03 ERA, 46 strikeouts and 17 walks. He leaned heavily on his fastball and slider last summer, with the former sitting at 95 mph, per Baseball Savant, a couple ticks down from his peak days in 2014 and 2015 but still a velocity that will work.
With Richards now in tow, the Red Sox rotation has some upside, though there is a lot of volatility in this group. Richards’s injury history is alluded to above, and then you add in Nathan Eovaldi as well as some uncertainty for Eduardo Rodriguez, to say nothing of the questions of not only when Chris Sale will return but what he’ll look like when he does. I would not be surprised to see the Red Sox roll with a six-man rotation at least to start the year, as maintaining health in this group for a long season will not be easy.
With this move and the Hernández one last night, the Red Sox have to clear two spaces on their 40-man roster. There are a lot of directions this could go. It’s possible we get a resolution on the Dustin Pedroia situation at some point this weekend. We could also see a couple of DFAs, with guys like Joel Payamps, Jeffrey Springs, Marcus Walden and Austin Brice as potential candidates there. Marcus Wilson could be a candidate for a trade similar to that of Yoan Aybar and C.J. Chatham. Or there could be something bigger in the works. Either way, there will be more moves to come at some point soon to make these additions official.