In the wake of reportedly agreeing to a two-year deal with utilityman Enrique Hernandez, the Red Sox are also in active discussions with free-agent right-hander Garrett Richards, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.
Per Morosi, multiple clubs were talking with Richards as recently as Friday.
Richards, 32, is coming off a 2020 season with the Padres in which he posted a 4.03 ERA and 4.28 FIP over 14 outings (10 starts) and 51 1/3 innings of work.
The 2020 campaign marked Richards’ first ‘full’ season in quite a while, as the California native was limited to just three starts with the Pads in September 2019.
That was the case because the righty had been recovering from Tommy John Surgery, which he underwent as a member of the Angels in July 2018.
At one point in time, Richards — a former first-round pick of Los Angeles in 2009 — was viewed as the Halos’ future ace who would take over for longtime stalwart Jered Weaver.
That vision never came to fruition, though, as the one-time Oklahoma Sooner dealt with his fair share of injuries in his time with the Angels that was capped off by undergoing TJS in ’18.
With the Padres, however, Richards showed some flashes of what made him a special prospect in the first place, especially this past season.
Despite putting up a so-s0 4.03 ERA, the 6-foot-2, 210 lb. hurler placed in the 82nd percentile in fastball velocity, the 97th percentile in fastball spin, and the 99th percentile in curveball spin among major-league pitchers, per Baseball Savant. His pitch mix also includes a ‘wipeout’ slider.
To put it in simpler terms, Richards is somewhat of a ‘Statcast darling,’ as @RedSoxStats put it.
With that high upside potential in mind, it’s possible that Richards, who does not turn 33 until May, is currently in search of a multi-year contract.
MLB Trade Rumors predicted back in November that the ISE Baseball client would net himself a two-year, $16 million deal this winter.
Even after signing the likes of Martin Perez and Matt Andriese to one-year deals and adding swingman candidate Garrett Whitlock via the Rule 5 Draft, Boston still finds themselves in need of starting pitching help as spring training draws closer.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said on the SoxProspects.com podcast earlier this week that he is hopeful the club will be able to make more moves between now and Opening Day.
“I think we have a chance to surprise some people in 2021,” he said. “And I’m hopeful and believe very much we’re going to do a few more things before Opening Day that will supplement this club.”
(Picture of Garrett Richards: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)