The Red Sox have officially signed right-hander Garrett Richards to a one-year contract for the 2021 season that includes a club option for 2022, the team announced Wednesday.
In order to make room for Richards on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox also designated fellow righty Joel Payamps for assignment.
According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Richards will earn a base salary of $8.5 million in 2021. In 2022, his club option is worth at least $10 million, though it could increase to $11 million depending on how many games he starts this year.
Additionally, if Richards’ option for 2022 is not picked up, he will earn $1.5 million in the form of a buyout, so he is guaranteed to make $10 million either way.
The 32-year-old is coming off a 2020 campaign with the Padres in which he posted a 4.03 ERA and 4.28 FIP over 14 appearances (10 starts) and 51 1/3 innings of work.
Per Baseball Savant, Richards works with a four-seam fastball, a slider, a sinker, and curveball. Last year, his fastball and curveball spin rates placed in the 97th and 99th percentile among major-league pitchers.
A former first-round draft pick of the Angels in 2009 out of the University of Oklahoma, Richards was once regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball.
Several stints on the injured list — highlighted by Tommy John surgery in July 2018 — over the years have prevented the Oklahoma native from living up to that potential, but he will certainly have something to offer a Red Sox team whose starting rotation put up the second-worst ERA in baseball (5.34) while finishing second-to-last in innings pitched (246) in 2020.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 210 lbs., Richards, who actually turns 33 next month, will wear the No. 43 for Boston, becoming the 24th player in team history to do so.
He is scheduled to speak with reporters via Zoom at approximately 4 p.m. eastern time Wednesday.
As for Payamps, the Sox originally claimed the 26-year-old hurler off waivers from the Diamondbacks this past November.
Over the last two seasons, the Dominican right-hander had yielded four runs (three earned) on six hits, six walks, and five strikeouts over four total appearances and seven innings pitched out of the Arizona bullpen.
The Red Sox now have seven days to either trade, release, or sneak Payamps through waivers and outright him to Triple-A Worcester.
Following Wednesday’s transactions, the Sox’ 40-man roster is back at full capacity, which means another move will be required in order to make the signing of left-hander Martin Perez official.
As noted by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield though, Boston could very well wait to announce the Perez signing until fellow southpaw Chris Sale (Tommy John) is placed on the 60-day injured list at the onset of spring training.
(Picture of Garrett Richards: Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)