Remember when Clayton Richard had potential? I mean, not potential all-star potential, but solid middle of the rotation starter potential? I remember it like it was 3 years ago. It was 3 years ago.
In 2010, Richard threw 200 innings for the first time. It was also the last time he struck out more 5 batters per 9 innings. That year Richard struck out nearly 7 per 9, gave up home runs on less than 10% of his fly balls, and had both an ERA and FIP under 4. The Padres almost went to the playoffs. It wasn’t bad times, until it was.
In 2011, Richard didn’t make it to 100 innings. He struggled with shoulder issues, eventually having surgery that ended his season. He came back healthy in 2012, but he’s never regained the velocity he had in 2010, and he’s been stuck around 4.5 K/9 ever since. He’s always given up a lot of hits (in that good 2010 year, his BABIP was .311), but he’s no longer able to make a great pitch and get out of an inning.
This year, everything has gone wrong. Both his ERA and FIP are over 7, his K/9 is 4.7, he’s walking over 4 batters per 9 innings, he’s averaging less than 5 innings per appearance, and if he’s on a pace to give up over 40 home runs.
He’s not good. He hasn’t been good for years. He no longer has the potential to be good. He’s not even an innings eater anymore. Yet he’ll start Tuesday for the Padres and Robbie Erlin, who threw a very solid 6 2/3 innings on Saturday night filling in, is headed back to Tucson.
It’s time to make a change. Richard is still owed approximately $3 million of the $5.24 million he’ll steal from the Padres this season. If we start a Kickstarter campaign, do you think we can raise the money to pay off Richard’s contract as long as the Padres immediately DFA him and promote Erlin indefinitely?
The Awkward Transition
The impending roster move everyone is talking about is the one necessitated by Cameron Maybin’s imminent return to the big league club. Who will be demoted/traded/released? I have a few guesses, but there’s another move coming soon that’s also tricky.
Logan Forsythe’s foot is finally healed. Jedd Gyorko has solidified his spot as the team’s starting 2nd baseman. Chase Headley is still with the team, and Everth Cabrera, who Forsythe had hoped to battle for the starting SS job this spring, has been the Padres most valuable contributor so far this season. Where does Forsythe fit in?
The logical fall guy is Alexi Amarista. He and Forsythe do mostly the same things. Amarista plays a bit more outfield, but Forsythe plays a bit more infield. We’re talking about a role on the bench, and while Amarista’s surviving on offense based on inflated slugging numbers, Forsythe is a more consistent player. When Maybin is back, I never want to see Amarista in CF for the Padres again. If that means he needs a demotion for Forsythe, that’s a trade off I’m willing to make.
The Areas of My Expertise
I follow the rule 4 draft a little. By that I mean I look at 3-4 mock drafts and memorize names. What I do know about this year’s draft and the Padres is that I’m looking for the team to take a bat with their first pick. Not just any bat though. I have a list of 5 guys who would be acceptable and might be available at the 13th spot. It’s possible that none of them make it that far. In that case, I’d prefer a college arm, perhaps Alex Gonzalez from Oral Roberts.
The five I like, in order:
Austin Meadows – OF – L/L – Grayson HS,GA
Clint Frazier – OF – R/R – Loganville HS, GA
Hunter Renfroe – OF – R/R – Mississippi State
J.P. Crawford – SS – L/R – Lakewood HS, CA
Trey Ball – LHP/OF – L/L – New Castle HS, IN
I’d be happy with any of these guys. Right now I’m thinking the pick is Renfroe, the only college player on my short list. If he’s the pick, I’d love to see him move aggressively through the system, making his major league debut in late 2015/early 2016.
You can follow me on Twitter @The_NV or you can follow me offline in the suburbs of Cleveland, OH. I suggest the former though the latter’s not bad. The Vocal Minority posts on Monday.