The Red Sox have declined Garrett Richards’ club option for the 2022 season, thus making the right-hander a free agent, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.
Richards, 33, originally signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal with Boston back in February that included a $10 million team option for a potential second year in 2022.
Like Martin Perez, who also had his club option declined on Sunday, Richards opened the 2021 campaign in the Sox’ starting rotation. The veteran righty posted a 5.22 ERA and 5.15 FIP to go along with 87 strikeouts and 48 walks over 22 starts spanning 110 1/3 innings of work before being demoted to the bullpen on August 11.
As a reliever, Richards improved while working in shorter bursts, putting up a more impressive 3.42 ERA and 2.90 FIP with 28 punchouts to 12 walks in 18 appearances (26 1/3 innings pitched) out of the Boston bullpen.
In the postseason, Richards was named to the Sox’ Wild Card Game roster and American League Division Series rosters. He tossed one-third of an inning in Game 1 against the Rays on October 7 before suffering a left hamstring strain that forced him to come off the club’s ALDS roster and be replaced by Matt Barnes.
With the Red Sox declining his option, Richards — who turns 34 in May — will once again be hitting the open market. He will, however, be receiving $1.5 million in the form of a buyout.
By electing to not pick up the options on either of Perez’s or Richards’ contracts, the Sox now have one more option-related decision to make before 5 p.m. eastern time on Sunday with catcher Christian Vazquez and his $7 million team option for 2022 hanging in the balance.
On top of that, Boston must also decide if they will be extending an $18.4 million qualifying offer to any player who is eligible for one, such as free agent left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez or veteran slugger J.D. Martinez if he opts out of the final year of his contract.
(Picture of Garrett Richards: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)