The Boston Red Sox declined their club option for pitcher Garrett Richards, but chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom didn’t necessarily rule out a return for the starter-turned-reliever as he hits free agency.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday evening, Bloom praised Richards’ adaptability and perseverance in a new position and acknowledged that while the team declined the option, they would remain in contact with the 33-year-old.
“It’s funny. When I talked to Garrett to let him know, I made sure to compliment him and credit him by telling him how I feel, which is that he really turned around his season and, in many ways, saved ours with what he did once he got comfortable in the bullpen,” Bloom said Sunday. “So for a season in which he really struggled in a lot of ways, I think he also found a lot of success. And even before the switch to the bullpen, there was a period in the early part of the season where he was really rolling and, you know, really was a stabilizer for us. So there were a lot of good things mixed in.
“That said, you we get to the end point with this decision and we didn’t feel like it made sense to exercise the option, but we’re going to stay in touch with him and it’s certainly possible that something could line up.”
Richards was inconsistent as a starter, though he held himself accountable for his struggles, going so far as to call the 2021 season “the worst of his career” back in August. He shifted to the bullpen, where he was a welcome addition to the team heading into the postseason. But he strained his hamstring and had to be pulled off of the American League Division Series roster, and he was ineligible to return for the AL Championship Series.
Overall, he finished the year with a 4.87 ERA and a 7-8 record through 40 games (22 starts).