Blue Jays: Trevor Richards’ latest meltdown should be the final straw

Trevor Richards
Trevor Richards / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Trevor Richards shouldn't be on the Blue Jays for much longer after Sunday's showing against the Angels.

On Sunday, with the Toronto Blue Jays leading 12-10 in extra innings in a tight, back and forth game with the Los Angeles Angels, and with the bulk of their bullpen arms used up or unavailable, Jays’ manager John Schneider called upon right-handed pitcher Trevor Richards, an unlikely candidate for the save situation.

Richards so far had an unforgettable start to the season, but Schneider was hoping that giving him the opportunity in the rare high leverage situation could help him conquer his demons and would go a long way in getting him back on track.

Things appeared to start off decently in the bottom of the 10th inning, as Richards, instead of relying on his usual heavy dose of fastballs, utilized his off-speed changeup to perfection to get two strikeouts from the bottom of the Angels’ order, with a Gio Urshela single off a fastball sandwiched in between.

Then, like many of his appearances in the past, things began to unravel, as he failed to put away the next two batters, despite an intense confrontation with Mike Trout. As a result, a run came in to score and the winning run was now standing on second base. Schneider was forced to call upon his remaining bullpen arm in Tim Mayza to stop the bleeding, and calmly induced a groundout off the bat of Shohei Ohtani to seal the victory.

This constant trend of Richards putting on base runners and then needing others to get him out of jams has been evident since last season, and thus far, had continued into Spring Training and now the regular season. It was believed that he was already on a short leash to start the season, as Nate Pearson, Thomas Hatch and company were waiting patiently with the Buffalo Bisons in the minors for the opportunity to rejoin the big leagues.

So far in 2023, Richards had pitched 3.2 innings in four games, giving up six hits, four runs, with four walks and six strikeouts for a 7.36 ERA and a 2.73 WHIP, ranking him last among Jays’ relievers. This is a far cry from the 3.31 ERA and 0.80 WHIP he produced when he was first acquired from the Brewers in the Rowdy Tellez trade by the Jays back in 2021.

Even last season, the 29-year-old had a hard time in pretty much any situation. Regardless of the leverage, he had troubles keeping runners off of the bases and frequently induced solid contact that led to a ton of base hits. The 73 ERA+ he had in 2022 is by far the lowest he's ever had in a full season and his woes on the mound have carried over into this year.

With Sunday’s meltdown in Angel Stadium, patience is definitely growing thin for Richards, and it should be the final straw for him since he has failed to consistently get outs in a Blue Jays uniform.

Next. April 10, Matt Chapman secures AL Player of the Week. dark