Garrett Richards Out Six To Nine Months For Knee Surgery

Angels right-hander Garrett Richards has been diagnosed with a torn patellar tendon in his left knee and will undergo surgery that will come with a recovery time of six to nine months, the Angels announced (Twitter links). Given the length of the recovery period, it’s possible that the Halos’ breakout star could miss the beginning of the 2015 season as well.

Richards is the second young pitcher that the Angels have lost this month, as they also received the news that lefty Tyler Skaggs required Tommy John surgery. If there’s a slight silver lining for Angels fans, it’s that Richards will almost certainly be able to contribute next season, whereas Skaggs is unlikely to do so.

Nonetheless, it’s a crucial blow to an Angels team that is in a close race with the Athletics for the AL West division title. The 26-year-old Richards has been an anchor for manager Mike Scioscia’s rotation this season, pitching to a 2.61 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 50.9 percent ground-ball rate in 168 2/3 innings of work.

The Angels will now lean even more heavily on Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson atop their rotation, with likely contributions from Matt Shoemaker, Hector Santiago and perhaps Wade LeBlanc at the back of the starting five. LeBlanc was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake today after posting a 4.00 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 123 2/3 innings this season, but the 30-year-old veteran hasn’t seen consistent time in a  big league rotation since 2011 with the Padres. He has a career 4.56 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 424 1/3 Major League innings.

The Richards injury will only further speculation that the Halos could look outside the organization to add an arm for the stretch drive. Reports yesterday indicated that Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon has yet to hit the waiver wire, and he would be a logical target for the Angels if he reaches them (a team like the Mariners, however, could block their division rivals by placing a claim). MLBTR’s list of players that have reportedly cleared revocable waivers does include a few pitchers, but it seems highly unlikely that any of Yu Darvish, Jon Niese or Gio Gonzalez would truly be available. Hypothetically speaking, Niese is the most realistic option, as the Mets aren’t contending. However, the Angels’ depleted farm system likely doesn’t have the necessary chips to make such an acquisition.

Richards’ injury could also have an impact on GM Jerry Dipoto’s offseason strategy, as it likely increases the importance of adding veteran pitching depth — even on minor league deals. Of course, for the time being, Dipoto and his lieutenants will be focused on the next two months as they hope to make a postseason appearance, which would be their first since 2009.

63 Responses to Garrett Richards Out Six To Nine Months For Knee Surgery Leave a Reply

  1. JacksTigers 11 months ago

    Devastating to both him and the Angels.

  2. abes_seed 11 months ago

    So sad… Get well G-Rich!

  3. WrigleyTerror37 11 months ago

    Hate how this had to happen to him this season, hes been throwing gems almost every outing.
    But lets hope for a healthy 2015

  4. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

    Well at-least it isn’t TJ surgery… Still very sad.

    • KINGMOJO 11 months ago

      But remember scot shields had a torn knee ligament in his landing leg and wasnt the same after that, hopefully this isnt the same case for Grich.

  5. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

    I really hope Colon or someone similar will fall all the way down the waiver wire to the Angels, Wade LeBlanc isn’t going to cut it.

    • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

      That’s still more for a fifth starter than about 27 other teams. The depth of their bullpen can allow LeBlanc to just go 5 or 6, much like Hector Santiago, and then do the rest. But I still would prefer a move just to be on the safe side. They still have the pieces needed to finish what they started this season.

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

        But LeBlanc isn’t replacing the Angels 5th starter, he is replacing their ace!

        • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

          LeBlanc becomes the fifth starter and the rotation depth chart gets reshuffled to where Weaver is the ace again, and so on. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the Angels have put up almost nothing but long winning streaks since the middle of May. Richards was out there every “fifth” day. So it looks to me like the Angels have accounted for the remaining 4 days just fine. And they still managed to bounce back and sweep the Red Sox. Having a bullpen as deep as they have now allows them to absorb this injury, because it allows any of their starters to go 6 and not be stretched out. I don’t know if you remember 2002 — I hate going back to that as a reference but it applies here. That team had nothing resembling an ace. All innings eaters. The rotation they have now is better than that one. I would even argue their current bullpen is more talented and deeper. So I’d wait to see how this goes. I think they’ll be fine.

      • GetToTheChoppa 11 months ago

        You think Leblanc will give you 5-6 GOOD innings? If he gave teams 5-6 GOOD innings he wouldn’t have been let go by the padres marlins astros angels the first time then Yankees. You place Leblanc out there you’re essentially saying ok offense go score us 6 runs/bullpen ok we can’t afford to fall behind more. You toss Leblanc out there every 5th day you’ll tax that bullpen in no time.

        • Kyle 11 months ago

          All our starters already struggle to go 6-7 innings. Richards was the only one that would go that every time. Our bullpen has been already hugely taxed.

        • KINGMOJO 11 months ago

          Leblanc was DFA’d by the angels and was picked up by a team, angels were trying to stretch him out to make a spot start for santiago who was struggling at the time.

        • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

          Most fifth starters in general aren’t going to give 5-6 GOOD innings on a consistent basis. Most fifth starters don’t even give 30 starts — or even 25 — in the big leagues for similar reasons why LeBlanc has bounced around and struggled to find a major league job. Having a 5th starter give 5-6 GOOD innings on a regular basis is a bonus for any team. But having both a deep offense and bullpen gives them enough of a cushion until a better option comes along. And if that doesn’t happen, it’s only about 6 starts. That’s nothing.

          • GetToTheChoppa 11 months ago

            How’s that Leblanc experiment working out now? 3 innings 6 runs….
            For the record by good innings for a 5th starter I meant go 5-6 innings giving up 4 or less. That’d be a good 5th starter day.

    • Evan 11 months ago

      It’s only for 6 games.

      • bjsguess 11 months ago

        This ^^^^

        You can put up with a guy who posts a 6 ERA for 6 games. It isn’t the end of the world in terms of the regular season. The Angels are going to the playoffs.

        After that it’s a crapshoot. We’ve seen Weaver be dominant … and we’ve seen him throw some stinkers. Wilson was solid early on but has been awful of late. I’d feel much better if he remembered how to throw a strike. Santiago seems to be doing better (over the past month he’s sporting a shiny 1.39 ERA over 32 innings). Shoemaker’s been a pleasant surprise. All in all, the club can weather the storm but they will definitely need Trout to get back on track and the bullpen to continue to perform. Winning a championship this year won’t occur on the strength of our starting pitching.

        • Evan 11 months ago

          Sounds exactly like 2002 championship. Bullpen, defense, timely hitting. We just need to work out the timely hitting part.

          • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

            Even if they don’t entirely work out the timely hitting aspect like they should, their rotation and bullpen are both better than the 2002 squad. This staff is much better at shutting down base runners than the ’02 staff.

        • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

          And as much as people love to theorize starting pitching in the playoffs, teams rarely win in October on the strength of their starting pitching. And if they do, it’s usually because of an historic run like Orel Hershiser in 1988, or the four horsemen of the 2005 White Sox. Starters rarely even make it through the 6th inning in most postseason games. It comes down to bullpens.

          But then you have that great postseason moments/comebacks factor that makes it so great. Basically when you’re facing the best teams overall game after game for an entire month, all that theory of what wins in October goes out the window. The whole thing is a crapshoot.

          IMO, Shoemaker gave the Angels a starting pitching surplus. And I think he could be a frontline starter in the making, and just took this long because he was undrafted and not hyped up. I think Santiago is improving because having a deeper bullpen allows him to stay within his development and just go his 5 or 6. He seems to be a shutdown starter for that duration, but once stretched out that’s where he loses his starts. Probably won’t happen anymore with a much deeper bullpen. I think the same can be said for Weaver at this stage in his career. He too has had a number of starts fall off at about the 6th inning that could’ve been saved had the bullpen been as deep earlier in the season. Wilson is getting back on track. He looks like he fell off the board like Scherzer did, and is just getting back up.

          It’s definitely coming down to deep offense, deep bench, good defense, and deep bullpen for the Angels in the postseason.

  6. TurksTeeth 11 months ago

    Kid puts it altogether then takes a knee. Tragic, in every sense of the word.

  7. John C. Reilly 11 months ago

    The way he was screaming on the field is an image that is gonna be forever burned in my memory. Brutal.

  8. bjsguess 11 months ago

    Really, really stinks for everyone. Feel so bad for Richards.

    The only silver lining I can find (from the clubs/fans perspective) is that his arbitration costs will be significantly lower this year and next. Might also create an opportunity to sign him to extension at a reasonable price.

  9. chicothekid 11 months ago

    And there goes any chance that the Angels had in the the playoffs with him. Tough injury for both of them.

    • Kyle 11 months ago

      With our record I think we will get in to the playoffs… if we go .500 we will get in. It is just a question of if we will win the division or face King Felix in the wild card game.

      • bjsguess 11 months ago

        Richards was due to contribute approximately 1 (WAR) win over the remainder of the season. Getting into the playoffs won’t be a challenge, whether he’s here or not.

        As you correctly point out, the bigger issue is if the team lands the wildcard slot (very likely) they might be positioned to face Hernandez or Scherzer in the play-in game. Now, that assumes the team doesn’t stay above the A’s AND that the Mariners/Tigers have the luxury of getting their rotation aligned. That’s a pretty big if as I assume both teams will be fighting it out for that last wild card slot.

        • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

          I mentioned the same exact thing regarding his WAR in my latest article. Won’t advertise that here out of respect for MLBTR. But no one seems to be talking about his WAR at all, which I find puzzling, and makes me wonder if people out there are ignoring it on purpose as an excuse to say the Angels are out and the A’s will still win the division. But that’s just my cynical side talking.

          Richards was at 4.5 WAR, four and a half months into the season with 6 weeks to go. So that’s an easy calculation of exactly 6 WAR, give or take a small fraction. That’s 1.5 WAR the Angels are losing should the replacement in that spot not fill in any of the difference, or if someone else like Wilson or Hamilton don’t step up for a late season run and make it up themselves.

          There’s a good chance the team as a whole can make up the difference just by accumulating their production in bits and pieces, which is exactly how the offense has done it all season. They’re an above average or better at every position Bill James case study in that sense.

          I think they still win the division. If they have to settle for the Wild Card, on paper they may be at a disadvantage with the starting pitching matchup, but that’s also where October baseball begins. And all that goes out the window. Plus, the Angels have defeated many aces this season already. The list is suprisingly long, if you recall.

    • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

      The Angels are 19-7 in Richards’ starts and 52-43 in the rest. Now one thing to keep in mind though is both records also include not having the same bullpen until late June. So with that being said, and the dominant run the Angels have had since mid-May, I think at this point the Angels have put themselves in a position where they’re not so dependent on Richards’ starts, and have his non-start days covered with what is essentially an all around well-balanced and deep ball club.

  10. Kyle 11 months ago

    Due to this and Skaggs TJ look for the Angels to be players for the top arms in this free agent class.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

      It depends how set on staying below the luxury tax line Arte is, the Angels only have about 5 MM to spend in the off season before they hit the luxury tax.

      • Kyle 11 months ago

        Arte even said in the last free agent class that if it will take the Angels “over the top” that he would be willing to go over the luxury tax line. So I would think he would be willing to go over to stay competitive….

        • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

          I sure hope so. It just a question of how much money the Angels make this year. These were Arte’s exact remarks (made before the Trout extension):

          “The reality is we have an operating budget, and the operating budget is below the threshold,” Moreno said. “What we try not to do is try to go negative. Long-term, it just doesn’t work to be in the red financially.”

          “Let’s just say we come out of the box good,” Moreno said. “It’s a long season. We come out of the box, and we get to the break and there’s somebody available, then what you have to do is try to do the best you can to get somebody in here.

          “People keep saying that we’re bringing in players and it’s crippled us in the market. It hasn’t crippled us. We have no debt on our team, we aren’t losing money. We made some money last year. We really would make some money if we could figure out a way to make the playoffs.”

          • Kyle 11 months ago

            Didn’t the old tv deal run until after this year? I thought the 3 billion 20 year deal started this next year. I could be completely wrong. (I most likely am wrong.)

          • Evan 11 months ago

            Wheres the confidence Kyle?

          • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

            I think the new one already kicked in. Either way, I think it’s the second highest TV revenue in all of MLB. For now.

      • KINGMOJO 11 months ago

        Is that including wells,blanton coming off the books and burnett being bought out? And remember angels are going to be in win now mode for most of pujols and trouts contract.

      • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

        They’re going over the tax most likely. Arte has said many times that he’s willing to go over for the right player/s to get them a championship. Turns out he was initially talking about Mike Trout. I’m not sure if that $5 MM is accurate. They have some money coming off the books, and Trout’s contract only adds I think about $6 MM AAV because he’s replacing another contract with an $18 MM AAV.

  11. sunshipballoons 11 months ago

    It seems hard to believe that Colon would make it to the AL. Wouldn’t the Dodgers claim him? Or maybe STL?

  12. هذا الرجل رهيبة الكبير خليل 11 months ago

    Angels need a starter ASAP, they have nothing to trade, do they even have money for Max Scherzer?

    • bjsguess 11 months ago

      Scherzer wouldn’t pass through waivers, nor would Detroit be inclined to trade him.

      • Ben-Dessa Anderton 11 months ago

        I was going to ask why Det. would even consider such a move at this point in the season. Considering they are still in the playoff hunt and could potentially face LA in the playoffs.

    • hozie007 11 months ago

      How about Scherzer for Trout..? No, how about Scherzer for Calhoun and Santiago?, No how about Scherzer for Grilli and a PTBNL?

  13. MiggyCabby24 11 months ago

    Angels are having a great season, this really puts a damper on it. Still should make the playoffs though their starting pitching without Richards is suspect now, and not as good as Detroit, Oakland and possibly Seattle. The bullpen which was a weakness is now a strength, behind probably only Kansas City’s.

    • Leykis 11 months ago

      They’re going to need CJ Wilson and Weaver to step it up and start pitching like they should, especially CJ.

      • Ben-Dessa Anderton 11 months ago

        how exactly should CJ be pitching? Everything I have seen appears to be about on par, minus the fact that this season he is finally getting burned for walking hitters. Weaver on the other-hand, I agree fully.

        • Leykis 11 months ago

          Apparently you haven’t been watching CJ pitch over the past 3 1/2 months.

          • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

            It was more like 2 months. Happens to the best of em. Happened to Scherzer earlier in the season. And now CJ’s already had two straight good starts getting him back on track.

          • Leykis 11 months ago

            Ok, 2 months….whatever. Still, he hasn’t been pitching “on par” this season and him and Weaver need to step it up with G-Rich gone.

          • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

            I don’t really think they need to “step it up” necessarily. Wilson yeah. But Weaver not so much. Shoemaker has been giving them ace-like outings, so there’s a cushion that I think actually gave them a SP surplus on top of being mostly average to above average outside of Richards/Shoe. Santiago is improving because a deeper bullpen keeps him from being stretched out. And over everything else, the Angels have put up a dominant run since mid-May that includes winning consistently in games not started by Richards. And we’re talking about 6 games, and 1.5 WAR to make up. Big deal. Angels have proven they have the other games covered, and can find a way to cover those 6.

          • Leykis 11 months ago

            I’d much rather win the division than have to face King Felix or David Price in a one game playoff. So, 6 games may not seem like much to you but the division could be decided by what the Angels do in those 6 games.

          • Ben-Dessa Anderton 11 months ago

            I watched him pitch long before he went to LA. That alone was all I could stand. The biggest plus to CJ has been his penchant for eating a lot of innings. He is fairly consistent in going 200+ innings. Mainly because he has maintained decent health. Even back to his adventurous days as a closer, he would nibble far too much and lose hitters after going up 0-2. I think this year its biting him much more often than not.

            He also appears to be a little more hitable, but I have always attributed that to his propensity to nibble around the plate and allow hitters to get themselves out. But you’re correct. I haven’t been watching CJ Wilson pitch over the past 3 1/2 months consistently enough to have much more than my own upside down opinion.

  14. MiggyCabby24 11 months ago

    They traded for Gordon Beckham today, not sure how this helps their starting pitching though.

  15. DippityDoo 11 months ago

    Change os scenery candidate Edward Jackson can be had for a bucket of seawater…

  16. Karkat 11 months ago

    RIP my fantasy championship hopes :c And probably a good chunk of the Angels’ real-life playoff hopes too. This could be big for Oakland down the stretch.

    • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

      Not really. The Angels have non-Richards start days well covered. Reference their schedule and results page and you’ll see that they’re not all that dependent on Richards. In fact, I think between average to above average performances by Weaver, Wilson, Skaggs, and Santiago, Richards and Shoemaker have given them somewhat of a SP surplus. I think they’ll be fine. Just might have to grind a bit more on the days they have to replace Richards on the mound. But that’s only about 6 games.

  17. anon_coward 11 months ago

    mike trout for bartolo colon and john niese

  18. MadmanTX 11 months ago

    Feel for the player, but what was it Angels fans said about all the Rangers injuries this season? Hmm.

    • Ben-Dessa Anderton 11 months ago

      at this point the injuries the Angels have suffered are far worse than what the Rangers have. Merely because we were dead in the water months ago.

    • RyanWKrol 11 months ago

      I don’t know. What did we say? Probably pointing out the truth. The Rangers were done before the season began. The Angels lost Hamilton, Calhoun, Wilson, Freese, Skaggs, Green, and now Richards to the DL for extended periods at different times, and still have the best record in the Majors.

  19. melvin brookes 11 months ago

    Big blow to the Angels. But Billy Beane traded his teams’ offensive WAR leader for the best pitcher in baseball. It seems to me you don’t trade an everyday player for a starter, ever. And Cespedes is a money player and heart of the lineup guy. Lester is walking after this year. The A’s may not get the playoffs because of this trade, even though the trade was meant to get them through the playoffs. how weird would that be? Getting back to the Angels, this hurts them badly, but if you have a good bullpen, you can always pull a kid off the farm as a #5. The A’s should have done the same. And why didn’t the A’s go and get David Price?

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