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Padres to sign free agent Garrett Richards

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The Padres have signed righty starting pitcher Garrett Richards, who is fresh off Tommy John surgery. It’s an odd signing, but might pay dividends in the long run.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

I know you’re all waiting for the impact moves that will change the personnel on the field in 2019, but this isn’t one of those. The Padres have reportedly reached an aggreement with former Angels starter Garrett Richards, who is currently recovering from a Tommy John surgery that was performed last June. The timeline for his recovery means that he won’t pitch at the MLB level at all in 2019. It’s been reported to be a two-year deal with a base of roughly $15M and incentives that could push it to $18M.

If the notion of the Padres signing a veteran pitcher fresh off elbow reconstruction sounds familiar, it should. Back in 2013 the Padres started their extended relationship with Josh Johnson, a former Ace who was trying to find his way back to the mound. A series of setbacks and another surgery resulted in two years of lost time and money paid to a well-regarded guy who just couldn’t catch a break, and eventually Johnson retired after three years of attempted comebacks.

This time around, the Padres are betting on the 30-year-old 6’3” righty to clean up a high-effort delivery that has consistently racked up high K-rates and flashed Ace-level performance across his eight years with the Anaheim Angels (or whatever they’re called these days). It’s a wager that comes with the cost of some money and a roster spot, but if he can come back healthy the team might have another weapon for 2020 and beyond.

The team has not announced the deal yet, and no corresponding roster move has been made at this time.