Why the Red Sox Gave Garrett Richards $10 Million but not Corey Kluber

The Boston Red Sox were one of the runner-ups in the bidding for Corey Kluber, who agreed to a one-year, $11 million deal with the New York Yankees last Friday. The Red Sox then pivoted to Garrett Richards on Saturday and gave him $10 million for 2021.

So it begs the question why the team was willing to give almost $11 million to Richards but then weren’t willing to do so with Kluber? It’s all in the structure of the contract.

Chief Baseball Officer, Chaim Bloom, has wanted to sign players to multi-year deals this offseason, as he did so with Kike Hernandez. The Red Sox don’t look like they will be in prime position to contend in 2021 with the Yankees, Rays, and Blue Jays having more talented rosters on paper than them. So, signing players to multi-year contracts puts Boston in a better position to make a playoff push in 2022.

Kluber didn’t want to sign a one-year deal with a club option because he wants to simply prove himself so he can cash in on a multi-year guaranteed contract next offseason. The Red Sox were able to get Richards because he was willing to come on a one-year deal with the opportunity of earning himself a second season at Fenway Park if he stays healthy–something he hasn’t really been able to do.

Both pitchers would’ve come with risk, but fans wanted Kluber more than Richards because he is the bigger name and at one point in his career he was the best pitcher in the American League. Richards has an electric arm but just hasn’t been able to control it and stay healthy all at the same time.

Richards played a key role in getting the Padres to the postseason last season out of the fourth spot in the rotation. He figures to be in the back of the rotation for Alex Cora, and has the ability to out pitch opposing four or five starters due to his electric arm. It’s just a matter of if he stays healthy. The 32-year-old hasn’t started in more than 20 starts since 2015 with the Angels.

(Photo: Tony Gutierrez/AP)

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