Padres and Clayton Richard avoid arbitration with one-year, $2.705 million contract

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According to the Associated Press, the Padres and Clayton Richard have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.705 million contract.

Richard was arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason. The 28-year-old southpaw requested $3.1 million and was offered $2.35 million by the Padres when arbitration figures were exchanged last week, so the two sides ended up settling right around the midpoint of $2.725 million.

Richard, who was acquired from the White Sox as part of the Jake Peavy trade in 2009, posted a 3.88 ERA over 18 starts in 2011 before undergoing season-ending surgery on his left shoulder in late-July. Barring any setbacks, he should be ready for spring training and open the season in the Padres’ starting rotation.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: