Left-hander Clayton Richard has refused an outright assignment from the Padres and has elected free agency, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
Richard, who turned 30 in September, was a clear non-tender candidate, and the Padres chose to address the issue immediately rather than wait until the non-tender deadline in early December. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected a $5.24MM salary for Richard, who posted a 7.01 ERA with 4.1 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 52 2/3 innings for the Padres this season. Opponents batted .308/.369/.578 against Richard in a season that saw him miss three weeks with a stomach virus before going down for the year with a shoulder injury in June.
The Padres originally acquired Richard from the White Sox aspart of their haul for Jake Peavy, and Richard rewarded them with 584 innings of 3.90 ERA prior to the 2013 campaign. Though he's never been one to miss many bats (career 5.6 K/9), Richard has shown the ability to be a durable innings eater, twice topping the 200-inning threshold with a sub-4.00 ERA for the Friars.
As noted by MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter), Richard's departure means that the Padres have no one left in their system from the Peavy trade. Aaron Poreda, Dexter Carter and Adam Russell have all departed, with Carter no longer pitching in affiliated ball, Russell going to the Rays in the Jason Bartlett trade and Poreda going to the Pirates in the Rule 5 Draft. Poreda, who has since been released, recently signed a minor league deal with the Rangers.