Yesterday we learned that Clayton Richard was going on the 10-day DL due to knee inflammation. It turns out it wasn’t that simple. Upon learning that he was leaving the rotation, he decided to travel to Colorado to undergo surgery on both knees.
Clayton Richard was trying to put off knee surgeries until after the season. The #Padres letting him know he wasn’t in their rotation the rest of the season hastened the procedures.— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) August 29, 2018
Yes, surgeries. https://t.co/hxKsaLET7I
As @SacBuntDustin pointed out in his newsletter the other day, Clayton Richard has had two distinctly different portions of his season, and now that we know that knee issues have been bothering him all year, we may now have a clue to explain why. As the calendar flipped from June to July, Richard went from being the team’s most valuable starter (from an fWAR standpoint) to its worst. There were no obvious outward signs as his velocity and movement didn’t seem to degrade, but an inability to execute with command made him vulnerable to some ugly outings.
The team has Richard under contract for $3M in 2019. The rotation for the remainder of the 2018 season appears to consist of Joey Lucchesi, Brett Kennedy, Robbie Erlin, and Jacob Nix, with Eric Lauer ready to come off the DL to take the fifth slot back. All five of those starts plus more (Strahm, Perdomo, Rea, Lockett, Mitchell, Logan Allen, Cal Quantrill, Chris Paddack, etc) are lined up to go into spring training next year. A bullpen role is likely for the veteran Richard, presuming the knee procedures allow him back on the field soon. The nature of the issues leading to this decision aren’t known, but Acee described them as “bone spurs, rough cartilage and possibly more”. With such a nefarious diagnosis, it’s hard to put a timeline on his rehab, but at first glance it appears that there is a good chance he’ll be back in uniform next spring.