The 2020 season for the Boston Red Sox was dismal, and that’s putting it rather nicely. Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom needed to improve on 2020, and he did just that with some Saturday afternoon MLB breaking news. It was announced the Red Sox agreed to terms with free-agent right-handed pitcher Garrett Richards, to a one-year, $10 million deal with an option for 2022, pending a physical.
MLB Breaking News: Worth the Risk?
Is Garrett Richards a risk? Sure. Is he the type of signing that’s going to madden a particular set of fans? Yes, yes he is. The Red Sox are currently not playing with the win-now crowd. They’re not in a deplete the farm, get a Chris Sale type of pitcher, or throw all the money at a David Price mode. Truth be told, they haven’t been that team since Mookie Betts took his final slide into home plate at Fenway Park in a 5-4 walk-off win over the Orioles to end 2019.
A Garrett Richards signing is the new normal for the 2021 Red Sox. Signing Richards doesn’t mean he can’t, or won’t be a great addition.
It’s important to note that all of the Red Sox free agent signings this offseason have been for more than one season on control. Hunter Renfroe‘s one-year, $3.1 million deal in actuality is three years of control, with two seasons of arbitration eligibility for 2022 and 2023. Martín Pérez, Enrique Hernández and now Garrett Richards all have options for 2022. The Red Sox are playing the long game, hoping to hit the nail on the head, find some diamonds in the rough, and benefit from these signings beyond just 2021.
Garrett Richards is in no way a bad pitcher. Is he the best on the market? No. He’s not, but then again the best free-agent pitcher on the market has made it clear he’s in win-now mode. The Red Sox are not exactly primed to win the World Series in 2021, and that’s why signing Garrett Richards is a smart move for the 2021 Red Sox.
The frustration from the fanbase is not unfounded, $10 million does seem rather steep for the oft-injured Richards, but didn’t the Yankees just hand Kluber a one-year, $11 million contract after he only pitched a total of 36.2 innings since 2018? The Red Sox, like the Yankees, are one of the wealthiest franchises in Major League Baseball and can afford these types of risks. If Richards performs like he had while from 2014-2018, as the pitcher with the 4th best ERA in the American League with a least 50+ starts, that’s good news.
MLB Breaking News: Where Does This Leave the Sox?
The 2021 Red Sox roster is not yet near completion. It’s close, but not done. As it stands now, the 2021 opening day starting rotation will look a little something like…
By July, it could look a little something like…
Then they add depth with Pivetta and Tanner Houck.
There’s a lot of question marks regarding this 2021 Red Sox rotation, but there is also a lot of upside. If Sale, Rodríguez, Eovaldi, and Richards perform like they are capable of, this rotation could be very good. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that come September, the Red Sox, with this rotation, are fighting for a playoff spot.
Just know Red Sox fans, Christopher Allen Sale will be back in 2021, and he’s bringing his magical and newly healed left arm with him.
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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images