Red Sox and righthander Garrett Richards reportedly agree to deal

Richards should add depth to the rotation.

San Diego Padres' Garrett Richards delivers against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs this past season.
San Diego Padres' Garrett Richards delivers against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs this past season. –Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo

The Red Sox have agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with starting pitcher Garrett Richards, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Passan reported that a physical still needs to be completed before the deal becomes official. According to The Boston Globe‘s Alex Speier, the deal includes a $10 million team option for 2022 and a buyout, with escalators for both the salary and the buyout based on Richards’s contributions this season.

Richards, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018, has spent the past two seasons with the San Diego Padres after eight years with the Angels. In 2014, he finished 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA and allowed the fewest home runs per nine innings (0.3). He was 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA and posted 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 51 1/3 innings last season.

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Speier called him, “one of the hardest-throwing starters in this year’s free agent class” and noted that his four-seamer averaged 95.1 miles per hour last season. Richards also has an “outstanding slider,” against which opponents hit just 1.47, according to Speier.

He overpowered righties (.189 average) but struggled against lefties (.296 average) in 2020. Richards, 32, was limited to 86 starts from 2014-18, but he had a 3.15 ERA in that span – the fourth-lowest in the American League among pitchers who made at least 50 starts in that period.

“For the Sox, the signing of Richards comes with upside if there’s any chance that he can tap back into those prior performance levels,” Speier wrote. “But even if his 2020 performance is more indicative of who he’ll be moving forward, Richards — if healthy — would add depth to a rotation that was woefully thin last season.”

Eduardo Rodriguez, Nate Eovaldi, and Martín Perez are in the rotation currently, and Tanner Houck, Nick Pivetta, Matt Andriese, and now Richards are in the running as well.

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