Blue Jays: How the 2019 rotation stacks up heading to Dunedin
Since entering the league in 2008, Clayton Richard has made exactly 200 starts with a career ERA of 4.46, tied for the third highest among active pitchers with more than 1000 innings, and a WHIP of 1.424. 175 of those starts came in San Diego which was once considered one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball.
To put it blatant, Richard has never been a great pitcher but he should bring some consistency to the Blue Jays rotation inning-wise despite his age of 35, as he’s thrown over 150 innings in back-to-back seasons. That’s something the Blue Jays lacked in 2018 with Marco Estrada pacing the team with 143.2 innings pitched, but as each year passes Richard continues to get hit harder.
His hard hit percentage rose to a whopping 40 per cent in 2018, up from 35 per cent in 2017 and 25.9 per cent in 2016.
Richard was DFA’d by the Padres in December before they moved him to the Blue Jays in exchange for Toronto native, Connor Panas. At age 35 and on an expiring contract, the Blue Jays hope he can remain healthy and induce more soft contact to open up a market for the southpaw as he looks for his first ring with his career dwindling down.
It’s also possible that Richard could end up being a bullpen candidate, either at the start of the season or later on in the year. It’s something he’s done a fair bit of throughout his career (65 career relief appearances), and the Blue Jays could always use another arm in the pen from the left side, especially one that could throw multiple innings.