And then there was one. Yesterday, the Padres and Clayton Richard came to terms on a one year deal before his case was set to be heard through arbitration. The Padres will pay Richard $2,705,000 during the 2012 season. That equates to a $2,236,200 raise.
Richard came has been a solid contributor for the Padres since coming over from the White Sox in 2009. He’s 24-20 with a 3.84 ERA in his three years with San Diego. He is, however, coming off season ending shoulder surgery on his throwing arm.
In three seasons with the club, Richard has accounted for 2.0 WAR, he has struck out an average of 6.3 batters per nine innings, and he has walked 3.7 per nine. His numbers are far from fantastic, but he is a lefty starter for the Padres and his contributions have been more on the positive column than the negative column.
Prior to being drafted by the White Sox in 2005, Richard was the once hopeful starting quarterback prospect at the University of Michigan. Unfortunately for him, Chad Henne was playing ahead of him. After one season with the football team, Richard joined the baseball team, a wise decision in hindsight. It took him just three minor league seasons to crack the Major League lineup, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Richard may always be remembered as a trade chip in the Jake Peavy deal. Much like the Adrian Gonzalez trade in 2010, the Padres’ hand was forced due to financial situations. They chose to trade Peavy to the White Sox in return for Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, Dexter Carter, and Adam Russell. Richard is the only player to make the Major League club. Interestingly enough though, Richard has only accounted for 1.6 WAR less than Peavy in these past three years. And Peavy has cost more than $35 million more.
With Richard and the Padres coming to terms, Dustin Moseley remains the only unsigned player for the Padres. Not many teams can say so, especially when starting with the highest number of players heading into arbitration. Perhaps, once the Padres and Moseley come to terms, or when an arbitrator decides those terms, the team can turn its focus to finalizing the roster. A Cameron Maybin extension will be on hold for now, but the team can add another bat or another arm. Or they can work on Nick Hundley and Chase Headley’s contracts.