Clayton Richard opened 2016 as one of the final members of the Cubs' bullpen, but a variety of minor ailments and poor results over 25 relief appearances led to his removal from the roster in late July. With a pitching staff plagued by injuries throughout the season, the Padres signed Richard in August in their quest to find viable innings eaters down the stretch. Working mostly as a starter in San Diego, Richard churned out a 2.52 ERA despite 5.7 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9, mainly via avoiding extra damage from free passes by keeping the ball on the ground (63.2 percent groundball rate) and stranding baserunners at an elevated rate (79.8 left-on-base percentage). At age 33, Richard inked a one-year, $1.75 million deal to return to the Padres, where he will presumably open the year in the rotation. However, all the indicators are there for him to perform much worse this time around, leaving him as an end-game play in NL-only leagues.
Richard is in the running to make the Padres' Opening Day start, A.J. Cassavell of MLB.com reports. Of course, manager Andy Green also added Jhoulys Chacin, Jered Weaver and "others" to the mix, per Cassavell, demonstrating that this is an unattractive fantasy situation. The soft-tossing Richard, in particular, hardly has the skills to make up for his lack of strikeouts.
Richard (finger) returned to the mound Sunday and was hammered by the Indians to the tune of six runs on eight hits in his lone inning of work. Cleveland's bats jumped on Richard early and often, knocking him out of the game before he could record an out in the second inning. Sure, it's spring training and the stats don't count, but with a pitcher like the 33-year-old Richard, fantasy owners even in deep leagues will need to see some sort of success before buying any stock. While he didn't say so, his injured finger could have played a role in the dismal performance. The Padres have already declared that Richard is part of their starting rotation, but he won't open the year on many fantasy rosters.
Richard (finger) threw a bullpen Thursday and could be ready for exhibition games as early as next week, MLB.com's AJ Cassavell reports. The veteran lefty fouled a ball off his finger early in spring training, but has been progressing well and tossed another bullpen session Thursday. Provided that he continues at his current pace, Cassavell reports that he could be back on a mound in a game in the coming days. Richard posted a strong 3.33 ERA across 67.2 innings in 2016, but his 4.18 FIP and low velocity suggest some regression could be on the horizon for the 33-year-old.
Richard (finger) threw a bullpen session Saturday, his first since fouling a ball off his finger, Bill Center of MLB.com reports. X-rays came back negative after the incident and Richards will likely return to normal pitching activities this coming week. It's good news nonetheless for the Padres, as Richard is set to take a top spot in the starting rotation this season. Expect additional updates as his recovery progresses.
Richard fouled a bunted ball off the top of his finger, but X-rays came back negative, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Richard will probably rest a bit but could throw if he feels OK. He's set to occupy one of the top spots in the Padres' highly questionable rotation and, by default, will occupy a spot on NL-only fantasy radars. It's difficult to ignore that 2.41 ERA in 52.1 innings as a starter last year, though that'll be tough to repeat.