Padres and Clayton Richard agree to one-year deal, no arbitration hearings in MLB this winter

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The Padres just announced that they have avoided arbitration with left-hander Clayton Richard by agreeing to a one-year contract. Corey Brock of MLB.com hears that the deal is worth $5.24 million.

Richard, who was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter, earned $2.705 million last season while posting a 3.99 ERA and 107/42 K/BB ratio over 218 2/3 innings. The 29-year-old requested $5.55 million and was offered $4.91 million by the Padres when arbitration figures were exchanged last month, so the two sides settled for a little over the midpoint.

There’s some significance to this agreement, as Richard was the lone arbitration-eligible player left unsigned in MLB. This means that there won’t be a single arbitration hearing in MLB this winter. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that under the current set-up, there has never been a year with fewer than three arbitration hearings until now. That’s a pretty good indication of labor peace.

The Braves will be serving some insane food this season

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Lots of teams have crazy concession items and lots of them will circulate photos of the more gonzo ones in the coming week leading up to the baseball season. The Braves, however, have been one of the more aggressive players in the gimmick concession item game in recent years, and they just sent around a release talking about some of the stuff they, and their concessionaire, Delaware North, will be serving at their new ballpark, Sun Trust Park, in 2017.

Among them:a blackened catfish po boy, which is a blackened 6-ounce filet of catfish cut up among three tacos, with a cajun remoulade. Some BBQ beef brisket sliders. A double burger. An ice cream bar. They’re also going to have a regionally-inspired thing called “The Taste of Braves Country,” showcasing southern cooking from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Which they’re calling “Braves Country.” Accurate enough, I guess, even if some of us are old enough to remember when they aspired to be a national team. Alas.

The big item, though, is this one:

It’s called the “Tomahawk Chop” sandwich. It’s a fried pork chop with collard green slaw and white BBQ sauce. It serves four and costs $26. I’m guessing it tastes fantastic, but I think the name is pretty cringeworthy for the same reason the cheer which gives it its name is. And, given the dynamics of the Braves move to their new stadium, the choice of BBQ sauce is . . . amusing? I dunno.

Anyway, enjoy, Braves fans.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.