Clayton Richard was DFA’d last week by the San Diego Padres and a move needed to be made. The Toronto Blue Jays took a chance on the veteran and traded for him, with the hopes he can eat some innings for the club in 2019.
The San Diego Padres made a small move Saturday, trading pitcher Clayton Richard to the Toronto Blue Jays, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.
Richard, 35, had been designated for assignment by the Padres last week in order to clear up a spot on the 40-man roster for infielder Ian Kinsler, with whom they agreed to a two-year contract with a club option for a third year.
The move came as a bit of a surprise as Richard was seen as a leader in the clubhouse, playing mentor to young lefties Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi in particular. That being said, Richard failed to impress on the field in 2018, pitching to a 5.33 ERA and 4.68 FIP while also seeing an increase in walks and a decrease in strikeouts.
Richard was awarded a two-year contract extension after finishing out the 2016 season on a high note in San Diego, and was even worth 2.4 fWAR during the first year of that deal, 2017. His uninspiring numbers in 2018 left the writing on the wall for the 10-year veteran though, and he will finish out the deal north of the border, wrapping up his second stint in America’s Finest City.
In return, the Padres will acquire 25-year old outfielder Connor Panas, a 2015 9th-round pick. Panas struggled in his first taste of Double-A ball in 2018, getting on-base at a sub-.300 clip, but he has shown flashes of power in the lower levels of the minors, making him an intriguing player to follow in the coming season.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) December 30, 2018
A.J. Preller and his front office must see something more in Panas, as they also agreed to pay half of Richard’s $3 million salary in 2019 as part of the transaction.
This move gives the Padres an opportunity to inject even more youth into an already green rotation, barring any late-offseason acquisitions. Lauer, Lucchesi, and Bryan Mitchell are the only three starters that are more or less guaranteed spots in the 2019 rotation, with some combination of Jacob Nix, Robbie Erlin, Luis Perdomo, and Brett Kennedy filling out the back end, speculatively speaking. Pedro Avila, Logan Allen, Miguel Diaz, and Chris Paddack could also make their way into the rotation at some point in 2019.