According to Evan Drellich of MLB.com, the Padres have agreed to a one-year, $5.24 million deal with Clayton Richard. The deal means not only do the Padres have no players going to arbitration this year, but no team in baseball has a player going to arbitration. That's a pretty phenomenal feat.
Clayton Richard was arguably the best pitcher on the San Diego Padres' staff last season. And he recognizes that. He is unwilling to budge on his requested 2013 salary. So far, Richard and the Padres have been unable to work out a deal to avoid arbitration, and it doesn't seem like one will be struck before the hearing next week.
According to Scott Miller of CBS Sports, a deal is not close between the Padres and Richard. If Richard does not get a deal before his arbitration hearing, he will be the only player in baseball to go before an arbitrator. The Padres don't want this. Richard doesn't want this. However, if the two sides can't get closer, that's what will happen.
Related: Critique of the Padres' brass.
Richard requested $5.55 million from the Padres, but the team countered with $4.905 million when official numbers were submitted with arbitration filings. The difference may seem negligible for some teams, but the Padres have been known to squabble over small amounts (relative to the huge contracts we see in baseball, of course) in the past. They did not sign their first round pick two years ago because of a $500,000 difference in requested bonus verse what the Padres would offer.
Richard has one more season of arbitration eligibility after this one before he hits free agency. He was acquired from the Chicago White Sox as part of the Jake Peavy deal back in 2009. In his time with the Padres, Richard has proven to be a successful starting pitcher. He is now a veteran lefty that the Padres rely on season-in and season-out.
In his five Major League seasons, Richard has a 44-42 record to go along with a 4.12 ERA. However, in each of his last three seasons with the Padres Richard has posted ERA totals under 4.00. Last season, he was 14-14 with a 3.99 ERA. Richard started 33 games while the rest of the Padres' staff struggled to stay off the disabled list.