Clayton Richard has declined his opt out clause, and will remain in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
“I’m still here,” Richard said with a laugh when asked about yesterday’s deadline. “We just thought it would be best to stay here and work some stuff out. I’ve had such a good experience with everyone here. We’re going in the right direction. It seems like the right move to stay here and keep on making that progress.”
It’s not a big surprise that Richard decided to stay in the organization. He signed with the Pirates after a conversation with former teammate Edinson Volquez, who saw the Pirates turn him around in 2014, and parlayed that into a two-year, $20 M deal in Kansas City. Richard’s situation is similar to Vance Worley, who went from being traded for cash considerations a year ago, to winning $2.45 M in his arbitration case with the Pirates this year.
Richard said that his experience in the organization and working with Ray Searage and Jim Benedict has been “terrific” and that he’s excited to continue his work. He will stay in extended Spring Training, where he will most likely get work with Jim Benedict, who lives in the Bradenton area. Benedict spent a lot of time last year working with Worley in extended Spring Training, before Worley made the jump to Triple-A.
Richard was not placed on the 40-man roster. As for whether he would have an opt out clause at a future date, Richard said that his agent and Neal Huntington were going to have a conversation about his deal, but that he didn’t know the details of that conversation.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
Where does he fit in the plans though? Early in the season the first and second options would be Worley and Sadler before him, then once hes ready to go so would Kingham and Taillon. I feel like hes the 10th best option this season.
There is no guarantee that Taillon will be ready to pitch in the majors this season so I would count anything he contributes this year as a bonus. In 2013 the Pirates used, IIIRC, 13 different starting pitchers throughout the year. If Richard stays healthy and graduates from the Benedict Academy, I would hope he turns into a better depth option than Casey Sadler, too. He might be the teams #7 starter, which is kind of scary to me.
It’d be rather nice for him to eventually fill the void that Cumpton having TJ opened. One month in seeing Richard do well allows him to be an option if someone goes on extended DL.
Early season rotation depth.
You can’t really use the depth chart in order when discussing early season depth. It’s really all about when a pitcher is lined up to pitch. They might need a starter one day, and someone like Sadler wouldn’t be an option because he’d be on less than five days rest.
Interesting to see if they still make a move, such as trading stolmy, but not the pressure is not on to get it done right away
Pretty thin market at this point, since contending teams wont be looking for a rebuild option this close to the season. Some middling team or rebuild team looking to buy the upside…but even then his upside isnt really super high and moving something for him likely means losing assets they see are key in the future.