The Pittsburgh Pirates have traded pitcher Clayton Richard to the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations. Richard had an opt out clause in his contract, where the Pirates had to make him available to all 29 other teams. If another team was willing to place him on their 25-man roster, the Pirates either had to work out a trade or add Richard to their own 25-man roster.

Richard was a reclamation project, who had good results with Indianapolis this season. In nine starts, he had a 2.09 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP over 56 innings, though he had just 25 strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013, when he had a 7.01 ERA in 52.2 innings for the San Diego Padres.

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52 COMMENTS

  1. Oh, by the way…

    Its only one game, but Richard pitched well tonight for Chicago – gave up just 2 runs in 6+ innings.

    • To a lineup without Stanton and Bour. I think Locke pitched pretty well today also. Are you convinced of that ?

      • Locke pitched superbly yesterday…now if he could only do that more often. His total body of work to date is an ERA of nearly 4.20, even after yesterday’s great performance.

        BTW, the Indians lineup Locke faced had only 3 hitters with an average north of .250

        • So Locke is pitching as a competent #5 starter — some days pitches well, some days pitches decent enough for a good offensive day to get a team win, and then shut your eyes and puke.. That is the job description of a #5 starter on a decent team — give the team a chance to win more often than not while a proportion of ugly games.

          • following up some more, a useful post from several years ago http://www.hardballtimes.com/how-good-is-your-4-starter/ where Hardball Times looked at the average ERA of the Top 5 starter spots on a composite basis… The composite 4th starter on all teams had a 5.10 ERA, and the 5th starter had a 6+ ERA in 2006… The methodology overweighs spot starts, fill-in starts and can not address the current run environment, but even with those discounts, getting a 4.20 ERA from a 5th starter is solid performance for this spot in the rotation. If Locke was expected to be the #3 starter then the Bucs are in trouble, but he is expected to not be an automatic loss.

  2. I don’t like this move. I hope he doesn’t throw a two hit shut out against us. I hate the Cubs!

    • I could go along with that….I am not 100% convinced that we can win the division with our current #4 and $5 starters. I think we could use an upgrade in both of those spots, along with another LH and RH reliever to replace Bastardo and Worley.

      • Really, do you think the Pirate’s FO cares if YOU aren’t convinced ? Actually, do you think ANYONE cares that YOU are/aren’t convinced of anything involving MLB ?

    • joel : It’s now July 5th, the day after Locke’s start, tell me how you feel about your stupid idea now.

  3. So we sit around and wait two hours just to see the other weak link in the bullpen implode once again with caminero, bastardo being the other. I don’t know about you guys but the bucs sure need some bullpen help. Richard could have been that guy or maybe not we will never know now since he has gone to a central division rival. Smooth move there exlax.

    • I’ve had zero complaints on how Clint has managed the pen the past couple weeks, but he definitely acted too late on giving Camineiro the hook tonight. None of those hits were cheap. And the leadoff walk… Hughes could’ve shut that inning down with no damage.

  4. I’m not as worried about Bucs’ starter depth as I am of facing this guy’s junkball arsenal 4x and our lineup not doing well.

    When Cubs bring Soriano up, that gives them the luxury of having a 5-6 inning starter in the rotation.

  5. I’m fine with this. If it was between the 25 man roster and giving him a real shot so be it. They knew what they had in him. They watched him pitch. If the Cubs snagged him they were devoid of pitching. If we’ve learned nothing else the Pirates don’t just give assets away.

    • The Pirates obviously saw more of him than anyone else, they knew about the clause since the day he signed and they knew what they had. If he was worth a roster spot, he would have been up because they gave him away for nothing. They would rather have nothing than him on the team over someone else. That should tell you all you need to know.

  6. I would have added him to our 25 man, replacing either Bastardo or Hernandez. To give him to a division rival who you are battling for a playoff spot, that is just unacceptable.

    Obviously, the Pirates knew about the clause and what it would mean if invoked – it seems like they were caught unprepared. Richard kept his end of the bargain and pitched well enough to be considered for promotion to Pittsburgh. So, the Pirates invested all that blood, sweat, and tears into rebuilding this guy from the ground up, and don’t get to see any benefits. I hope they got enough cash to lessen that pain.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if they got $1. If the Cubs got him, that probably means no one else was willing to put him on their 25-man roster(possibly Cardinals), so with having to deal with one team and one team only, there is a good chance that is all they got. I’d also give them some credit for considering keeping Richard over anyone else. This wasn’t a surprise, they knew he had an out clause since the day he signed, that doesn’t get hidden in their own contract.They definitely weren’t caught unprepared.

      • Well, I just don’t understand why they would invest so much in a reclamation project – see good results at AAA level – and then allow the guy to walk. Time will tell if this was a good move or not, but I would never do a transaction with a team in my own division – especially one that we’re competing for a playoff spot – the Pirates can only lose in this one.

        Bastardo is the obvious weak link in the bullpen, given Richard was a lefty I would have given him that spot to see if he can be an upgrade. It would be hard for Richard to be worse. Bastardo is what he is….he has NEVER been more than an inconsistent power pitcher with control problems. He had the one pretty good year in 2012 or 2013, but other than that one year he has been pretty much what we’re seeing.

    • This does not make sense. A lefty who had major league success and is apparently back on his game after a Pirate rebuild goes to a division rival for nothing. We have little starting depth with all the injuries. Why not bring him up, take a look in a spot start and find out if you have an asset. At least it could have expanded our trade options. Did NH get outfoxed here or what? Richard’s stats were very good( pitcher of the month)………..maybe the stuff wasn’t that great. Or maybe Neal is trolling this site, didn’t like the pitcher of the month designation and decided to show everybody he is in charge.

      • They saw more of Richard than anyone else. They knew what they had and they decided he wasn’t worth keeping over anyone else on the current roster. No hidden meaning behind it. I don’t know how he could have got outfoxed, as the clause has been there since day one and they knew this day would come. If they wanted to keep him, they would have, pretty simple.

        • John,
          I realize NH knew all about the clause……but in my opinion it still does not look right that a division rival can just grab a potential starter for nothing from us. Do you have any insight on what Richards would have cost if signed and promoted to the Pirates major league roster? Was salary a factor?

          • Nothing was mentioned when he signed, so likely it would have been a pro-rated minimum salary. The Pirates had no choice of which team(s) was willing to give him a shot and if the Cubs were the only one, then that’s who was getting him. They just didn’t feel he was worth more than losing anyone else and he wasn’t better than someone else already on the roster. They decided they weren’t going to weaken the roster just to keep him

    • I’ll take a Bastardo over a Camineiro every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

      Pretty much every major league hitter can sit on a 100mph heater that doesn’t move.

      • When Caminero is locating he is very effective. no matter how much they are sitting on it. He looked unstoppable for a good stretch there No he isn’t locating. He’s got plenty of stuff to be there or he wouldn’t be

        • When is he going to start locating again? In his last 7 outings, comprising just 6 innings, he’s got a BAA of .455 and a WHIP of 2.43. Luckily all his runners haven’t scored, so his ERA in that time is only 7.71.

          For the record in his 10.2 IP with the Bucs, Ernesto Frieri compiled a .304 BAA and 1.781 WHIP. We couldn’t show him the door fast enough.

          Ernesto Frieri is not someone you want to be compared to and come up on the short end.

    • QS…6 innings and 3 ER’s….I’ll take it. He has been very good, with the obvious exception of his DC start.

        • There has to be a minimum for stats and he reached the absolute minimum for both cases. No one really mentions quality starts anymore as a stat because it’s a vague stat. You can throw a perfect game or do what Morton did and they both count as one quality start. Most quality starts fall in between those extremes though.

    • I am not convinced that Morton and Locke will be good enough to finish the season as the 4 and 5 – but, with Taillon done and now this silly move, what other inhouse options do we have to replace one or both of them in the rotation? Sampson, Sadler have been up and down – mostly down of late. Glasnow isn’t ready.

  7. John – any idea if the Cubs were the only team to ask for him. I think the only good thing that could possibly come out of this is that other “down-and-outers” will be more likely to come to Pittsburgh. BUT a DIVISION (strong) rival???!!!!!!!!!!

    • No word was given, but I doubt many teams were in on him. I would say based on the fact he is going to the Cubs, they may have been the only team that wanted him, possibly Cardinals too.

      You basically answered the question yourself. Why would they trade him to a division rival? Only logical answers are: to keep him away from the Cardinals, OR the Cubs were the only team that wanted him, in which case, the only team the Pirates could negotiate a deal with.

      Judging by the small price(cash considerations could be as low as a $1) I’m going with one of those two answers. If you had another team involved, the return would probably be better and the destination would be different

  8. I cannot believe they let this happen. Jameson Taillon is having surgery for a hernia . that cuts depth we possibly could have had. Kingham and Cumpton went down with TJS. Now this. The Pirates have guys with options why wouldn’t they use them to call Richard up instead of helping a division rival who is a threat to our season. We cannot hit lefties. This adds another to our division. Not to mention we no have NO depth. If we have one injury we are SCREWED. You cannot trust Volstad or Liz. Sampson has some upside but he needs more work. His numbers lately say that. Is this as bad as trading Snider or am I overreacting? Someone please tell me because if I’m not mistaken this guy has been dominating AAA and he throws strikes unlike Jeff Locke.

    • Hale, how you been? I joined this site and the $2.99 is well worth it! I don’t even read the comments on the other site.

    • Check your facts. The Pirates are 9-6 vs. lefties this year. They are hitting HR in about 2.3% of their AB’s against lefties compared to just under 2% against RHP. And this is with Mercer sitting at a .661 OPS vs. LHP compared to his career .866. Kang also currently has a .837 OPS against LHP. Marte’s is 1.016. The Pirates have a few hitters who don’t hit LHP well, but everybody has that problem.

      • Yes he was. he expected to. Why wouldn’t he? he was close to making the club when he went down in 2014, He was making rehab starts and probably 3 or 4 starts from indy

    • It just seems like the Pirates were ill prepared for this moment – and did not plan properly. At the least, they could have brought Richard up to replace Bastardo – who I wouldn’t trust with a 5 run lead. This is a real head shaker and I sure hope it doesn’t come back to bite us.

    • Taillon wasn’t pitching for Bucs this year regardless of hernia.

      Liz probably offers more as a starter than Richard did. Or any of the other options.

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