Washington Nationals: Six free agent starting pitchers to pursue
By Blake Finney
The second starter we’re going to look at comes out of left field a little bit with Garrett Richards. He could be a perfect buy-low candidate for the Washington Nationals, with a potentially high reward.
While Patrick Corbin now has TJ Surgery firmly in the rearview mirror, Richards doesn’t have that same luxury. Richards opted to undergo the procedure back in mid-July, so he won’t be ready to get back on a big league mound until the latter part of 2019 at the very earliest.
However, when Richards has been healthy during his career, he’s been able to pitch at a high standard. Since the start of 2014, the right-hander possesses a 3.15 ERA, 3.38 FIP as well as an 8.5 K/9 and a pair of complete game shutouts.
But that period of time includes two seasons where he made just six starts, once again eluding to his health issues. It remains to be seen whether the Nationals would be willing to gamble on someone with such a vast injury history, but they are no stranger to taking on TJ recipients.
Therefore, it may be best to try and slide Garrett Richards into that fourth or fifth spot in the rotation. Then, there wouldn’t be as much pressure for him to perform, while giving some younger arms a chance to make an impression while he gets healthy.
In the MLBTradeRumors predictions, they had the Detroit Tigers winning the signature for Richards at just two years and $10 million. This would allow the righty to get fully healthy in 2019, before unleashing himself in 2020, and potentially heading for a bigger payday if he proves his health.
Yes, signing the former Angel would be a huge gamble. But with the current state of the payroll, the team won’t be able to shell out big time for two possible top-end starters, so they’re going to have to take a gamble somewhere. Richards seems as good a bet as any.