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Garrett Richards to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Angels starter Garrett Richards was diagnosed with a damaged ulnar collateral ligament on Wednesday, a day after an abrupt exit from a start against the Mariners. MLB.com’s Maria Guardado reports that Richards will undergo Tommy John surgery. That will certainly end his 2018 season and will keep him out for most, if not all of the 2019 season as well.

Richards, 30, compiled a 3.66 ERA with 87 strikeouts and 34 walks in 76 1/3 innings across 16 starts for the Angels this season. The right-hander has had trouble staying healthy in recent years, accruing only six starts in each of the 2016 and ’17 seasons.

Richards is a free agent after the completion of this season, so the timing isn’t so great for him. Once he’s recovered from Tommy John surgery, Richards may have to take an incentive-laden major league contract or even a minor league deal.

Report: Mets interview Dave Littlefield to fill GM vacancy

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Marc Carig of The Athletic reports that the Mets have interviewed Dave Littlefield to fill the club’s GM vacancy. The position hasn’t exactly been a popular one for potential candidates, with many preemptively taking their name out of consideration.

Littlefield, 58, was the Pirates’ GM between 2001-07. It didn’t exactly go well. The club never won more than 75 games during his tenure. Littlefield was also infamous for the 2003 Rule 5 draft in which he carelessly left several valuable players unprotected, including Chris Shelton and José Bautista. Littlefield was also criticized for trades he made (e.g. Aramis Ramírez) and for trades he didn’t make (e.g. Kris Benson for Ryan Howard).

In the time since, Littlefield worked as a scout for the Cubs, then for the Tigers. Since 2015, he has worked as the vice president of player development for the Tigers. Littlefield’s successor, Neal Huntington, went on to have more success which didn’t help Littlefield’s cause any. Huntington was also comparatively much more open to analytics.

The Mets’ interest in Littlefield isn’t surprising. There are plenty of up-and-coming GM candidates — like Ben Cherington — the Mets could target, but Fred Wilpon (pictured above) doesn’t want that. He wants someone malleable who will adhere to payroll constrictions. Mets ownership’s involvement is an issue for the younger, analytics-oriented executives, Matt Ehalt of The Record reported earlier this month. Ehalt wrote, “There are rumblings that several candidates with progressive, analytics-oriented approaches do not believe they will be able to operate as they please should they take the Mets job, according to a source. That hesitation played a factor in why former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington bowed out of the mix, per the source.”

You have to feel bad for Mets fans, who seem relegated to having to root for a middling ballclub once again. And you have to feel bad for the likes of Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard, who will once again have to perform for a team that doesn’t have competing as its chief priority.