The Padres have signed left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard to a two-year, $6 million contract extension, per a team announcement on Wednesday afternoon. The deal includes incentives as well.
Richard, 34, has a 4.33 ERA and 1.43 WHIP with 679 strikeouts and 356 walks in 1,068.1 innings over nine major-league seasons. It’s quite difficult to argue that he’s had a good 2017 season; his 4.82 ERA ranks 55th among 63 qualifying major-league starting pitchers, and his 1.51 WHIP is tied for 60th among that group.
To use an old baseball cliché, though, he takes the ball every fifth day, and his 185 innings pitched over 30 starts rank 16th in the majors. He’s also been one of the few steady veteran presences on a rebuilding Padres roster that is one of the youngest in the majors with an average age of 26.7 years.
At the very least, Richard should plug a back-of-the-rotation hole on a Padres team that isn’t expected to seriously compete for at least another couple seasons. If by some chance their starting pitching prospects advance more quickly than expected and seize big-league rotation roles, though, Richard also has made 65 major-league relief appearances and could contribute out of the Padres’ bullpen if necessary.