The Cubs have designated left-hander Clayton Richard for assignment in order to clear a spot on the roster for the newly acquired Aroldis Chapman, per ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers (Twitter link). The organization’s hope, according to Rogers, is that Richards will clear waivers and remain in the organization to be further stretched out at the Triple-A level.
Richard, 32, enjoyed a solid comeback season with the 2015 Cubs, working to a 3.83 ERA with 4.7 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 and a 59.3 percent ground-ball rate in 47 2/3 innings out of the bullpen after inking a minor league contract. He was especially tough on opposing lefties, limiting same-handed batters to a .234/.269/.266 slash in 67 plate appearances. However, he’s struggled in 14 innings since re-signing with the Cubs, surrendering 10 earned runs (6.43 ERA) on 23 hits and seven walks with seven strikeouts in that time. The additions of Chapman and Mike Montgomery, in conjunction with the presence of Travis Wood on the roster, have made Richards an expendable fourth lefty in the ’pen for the time being.
Richard is earning $2MM this season and has about $951K of that sum remaining through year’s end, so there’s a good chance that he will indeed clear waivers. Of course, he also has enough service time to refuse an outright assignment and test the open market without forfeiting the remainder of that salary, so it’s not a given that he’ll elect to stay in the Cubs organization.