The Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms with free agent right-hander Garrett Richards on a one-year contract worth $10 million, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports. The deal is pending a physical. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe adds that the deal includes a $10 million option for 2022.
Richards, 32, is coming off a 2020 season for the Padres in which he pitched to a 4.03 ERA and a 2.71 K/BB ratio in 10 starts and four relief appearances. He leans primarily on a fastball-slider combo but also mixes things up with the occasional sinker and curve. For his career, Richards owns an ERA+ of 106 across parts of 10 major league seasons, eight of which came with the Angels. Over that span, he's made 128 starts and 59 relief appearances. Richards has long had standout stuff, but he's been hindered by arm injuries, including undergoing Tommy John surgery in early 2019.
The Red Sox under GM Chaim Bloom are looking to rebound from a disastrous 2020 season -- a season greatly compromised by the trade of star outfielder Mookie Betts to the Dodgers. Achieving relevance in 2021 will require an improved rotation. Right now, the front of the Boston rotation consists of Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez, who will be working his way back from serious COVID-related complications. Right now, Richards figures to slot in behind those two in the rotation. Ace Chris Sale is expected to return from Tommy John surgery at some point during the 2021 season, but he'll hardly be a known quantity. While the Richards addition would be a sound low-risk addition, there's still plenty of work to be done.