When Trevor Richards joined the Jays via trade from the Milwaukee Brewers back in 2021, he had a sensational season with the ballclub in helping stabilize their previously inconsistent bullpen. He went a solid 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA, 136 ERA+, 0.80 WHIP, along with a strong strikeout rate of 30.3%.
However, the following two seasons have been a wild up and down ride for Richards. He often had stretches of really good mixed in with stretches of really bad, putting his reliability and dependability in question at times. When he was on his game, he was lights out, but when he was off, the opposition would light him up as if they were doing batting practice.
For the 2023 season, despite maintaining a strong 33.3% strikeout rate, Richards toiled with a 4.95 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, giving up 40 earned runs including 13 home runs in just 72.2 innings pitched. More significantly, he failed to produce for the Jays down the stretch when they needed him most by pitching to a horrific 12.41 ERA 2.19 WHIP, surrendering 17 runs with 11 walks and 16 strikeouts in just 12.1 innings of work. As a result, it made total sense that he saw no action during the brief Jays’ postseason.
With his overpowering strikeout ability and veteran experience, Richards will begin the season once again on the Jays’ roster. But if he doesn’t start showing the consistency that he displayed when he first came over in 2021, the leash likely won’t be as long this time around compared to the past two seasons. Especially if the Jays want to be serious contenders, they can no longer risk leaving things to someone that can fluctuate that extreme in performance.