It has become increasingly common over the last few years in Major League Baseball for pitchers that underwent recent Tommy John surgery to sign a two-year contract with a team to go through their rehab with them and then pitch for them in the second year.
That is the case for right-hander Garrett Richards this offseason as the former Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starter underwent the surgery in July and is not expected to be able to pitch until 2020.
He is a free agent this winter though, and a number of teams have reportedly been showing interest in him, including two teams that play in the National League West.
It became clear on Thursday morning that the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres were showing the most interest in the 30-year-old, but it appears he will be going down the I-5 Freeway instead of up it as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports is reporting that he has signed a two-year deal with the Padres:
Sources: Free agent right-handed Garrett Richards has agreed to a two-year deal with the San Diego Padres. The guarantee is for around $15 million.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2018
Richards has dealt with a number of arm injuries over the past few seasons, limiting him to just six starts apiece in 2016 and 2017.
He then made 16 starts in 2018 before being forced to get surgery on his elbow. He finished 5-4 with a 3.66 ERA, 4.13 FIP and 1.28 WHIP while striking out 87 and walking 34 in 76.1 innings.
While the Dodgers are not short on starting pitching, adding Richards to the mix for 2020 would have been a low-risk, high-reward move as he was once known as one of the better starters in the game. They got outbid by the Padres though, so they now will have to face him in 2020 instead.