The New York Yankees:
With Michael Pineda out for the season after Tommy John surgery, the team could use some more starting depth. That’s for sure. They have been linked to talks with the Oakland A’s about trading for Sonny Gray and with the Detroit Tigers about Justin Verlander, which are both still possibilities. Even if they do acquire one of those arms, Richard could still be added as an extra depth piece at a lower price point.
Also, he could be a valuable tool for the team out of the bullpen as well. His durable arm would make him the perfect spot-starter/ long-reliever going into the playoffs. Another possibility might be that Richard is packaged with a reliever like Hand or Yates. The Yankees are also in the market for relievers, and have been linked to Hand. In this case, a top prospect or two may be in order. I can envision a return including a player like LHP Justus Sheffield, infielder Tyler Wade, or shortstop Jorge Mateo. One or two of those guys could be a good haul for a package. Richard alone would likely bring in a prospect lower in the rankings. I’m think maybe a Yankees’ top-100. Preller is usually good at finding surprises in the fringes of organizations.
The Washington Nationals:
The Nationals are another team in need of both starting and relief pitching help. Yes, they did just make a deal with the A’s to bring over Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, but they still need more. Not to mention they also lost a starter for the season to Tommy John in Joe Ross, while Stephen Strasburg recently hit the disabled list with a nerve impingement.
The same type of return that was discussed regarding the Yankees could be expected from the Nationals. With a package of Hand and/or Yates and Richard to the Nats, a return of one of team’s top prospect position players, outfielders Victor Robles and Juan Soto, or shortstop Carter Kieboom, would be a very nice addition to the organization. Again, Richard alone would likely return a top-100 prospect from the Nationals; possibly a back-end top-30, like infielder Jose Sanchez or outfielder Telmito Agustin, if lucky.
The Los Angeles Dodgers:
Similar to the Yankees and Nationals, the Dodgers have a top of the rotation starter on the disabled list. Clayton Kershaw recently hit the DL with a back injury, similar to the one that took him out for several months in 2016. The timetable for his return is not clear at this time. That should be a huge blow to the Dodgers’ momentum going forward. It seems like they are going to have to do what they do best and find some back-end starters to bridge the gap until Kershaw’s return. The Dodgers have been known to pick up guys like Bud Norris, Alex Wood, and Mat Latos in hopes of being able to hobble into the playoffs with a serviceable enough rotation after being plagued by injury. This season may be no different.
If this is the case, Richard may fit well into the aforementioned mold. He would essentially be a fifth or sixth starter with the opportunity to move into a bullpen role after Kershaw’s return. Again, the Dodgers, like any team in contention, could always use more bullpen depth, so a package of Hand and Richard may be enough to snag that haul of Alex Verdugo that Preller was reported to have asked for in exchange for Hand alone. Richard alone could potentially be moved for a back-end of the Dodger’s top-30; maybe outfielder Carlos Rincon or catcher Kyle Farmer.
As I’ve mention a few times already, every contending team needs pitching depth going into the playoffs. That means that potentially any of the teams in the race right now could be candidates to pick up valuable members of the Padres’ staff. Teams like the Milwaukee Brewers and the Houston Astros could be just as likely to pull the trigger and snag Richard, Hand, Yates, or any other player they think will help them go the distance. Richard in particular is a free agent at the end of the season, so realistically, whatever the Padres can get for him that can add some value to the organization should be a go. Under the right circumstances, and possibly packaged with another player or two, he could bring back a considerable return. Now we just have to wait and see what Preller’s going to do.