The Blue Jays have acquired a lefty starting pitcher named Clayton from an NL West team. No, not that one.
On Sunday afternoon Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi tweeted that Toronto had acquired left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard from the Padres in exchange for Etobicoke’s Connor Panas. That was later confirmed by the club.
The Blue Jays have acquired LHP Clayton Richard and cash considerations from the San Diego Padres in exchange for OF Connor Panas. To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Oliver Drake has been designated for assignment.— Blue Jays PR (@BlueJaysPR) December 30, 2018
Richard is on a two-year contract that would pay him $3 million in 2019 but was designated for assignment last week when San Diego signed Ian Kinsler. Richard had started 27 games for the Padres in 2018, having missed all of September after surgery on his left knee to deal with inflammation issues. The Padres will reportedly retain half of his salary next season.
Sounds like the Blue Jays are covering half of Clayton Richard's $3M salary next season. The Padres acquired 25yo Minor League outfielder Connor Panas in the trade.— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) December 30, 2018
The 35-year-old Richard recorded an elevated 5.33 ERA last season but his 4.68 FIP was close to what was expected from someone who was signed to eat innings, induce groundballs (57% GB in 2018, 54% career), and provide Veteran Presents™ in the clubhouse. He is expected to contend for a spot in the starting rotation alongside the recently signed Matt Shoemaker behind Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, and Ryan Borucki. If he doesn’t make it into the rotation, he will likely be able to stick around as a lefty out of the bullpen, at least to start the season.
Oliver Drake was designed for assignment by the Blue Jays to make room for Richard. The Jays had re-acquired Drake on waivers in November after he was DFAed by the Rays. In the 2018 calendar year, Drake has been part of the Brewers, Clevelands, Angels, Blue Jays (twice), Twins, and Rays organizations.
Connor Panas, who will be 26 on Opening Day, is a minor league outfielder who was a Florida State League champion in 2017 and an Eastern League champion in 2018. Panas had a solid summer at the plate with double-A New Hampshire last season but his season was bookended with two months of struggles.