The San Diego Padres have formally announced the signing of Ian Kinsler to a two-year, $8MM deal.
With no space on the 40-man roster, they also announced that Clayton Richard has been designated for assignment.
Richard signed a two-year, $6MM deal last offseason after pitching 197.1 innings of 4.79 ERA ball in 2017.
That season also so an uptick in his strikeout rate (6.9) and a drop in his walk rate (2.7) while posting a 59.2% ground ball rate. While it was still a dropoff from 2016, these numbers were still good for the then 33-year-old Richards.
What the Padres got in 2018 out of Richard was…less than desirable. His ERA spiked to 5.33, his strikeout and walk rates (6.13 and 3.40, respectively) took a small hit, while his groundball rate continued to drop. It also didn’t help that he allowed more flyballs (21%) and hard-contact hits (40.5%) then the season before.
Still, his home run rate was still quite low while advanced metrics like FIP (4.68), xFIP (4.24) and SIERRA (4.51) indicated that he was slightly better than his ERA suggested. His veteran presence was also much appreciated in a locker room filled with youngsters and rookies as he served as a role model/mentor for young pitchers like Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer.
The Padres made Ian Kinsler’s signing official. In the corresponding move, they DFA’d Clayton Richard.
— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) December 20, 2018
However, the 35-year-old had left knee surgery to alleviate him from pain in his left knee that he had apparently been suffering from since early in the season and, while he isn’t expected to miss time, it is highly questionable if he will be able to bounce back from such a procedure at his age. Plus, with the Padres looking to give more innings to younger pitchers, Richard would just be taking innings away from them.
The Padres are still on the hook for the $3MM left on his contract unless Richard is traded or claimed on waivers, which is highly unlikely. San Diego will most likely be releasing the southpaw from his duties and eat the $3MM commitment. If Richard is picked up by a different team in the 10-day period, San Diego will only have to pay for the pro-rated portion of that $555K for any time Richard spends at the big league level.