Although the Minnesota Twins have been in, what appears to be, full out selling mode over the last month or so, is it possible that the team could still look to add future pieces to the team? If you believe the media reports as of late, it sure seems like the Twins are continually looking to add talent to their team despite the fact that it is getting late in the season.
According to 1500ESPN.com’s Darren Wolfson, the Twins were in “the due diligence phase” on possibly claiming Daniel Bard earlier in the day on Wednesday. Unfortunately for Bard—whose brother Luke Bard is a pitcher in the lower levels of the Twins’ farm-system—and the Twins, the door seems to be temporarily closed for a possible Bard reunion. Although the Twins were still researching and discussing whether or not to claim Bard—who was designated for assignment by Boston on Monday—the Chicago Cubs went ahead and claimed Bard off waivers which indicates that the Twins had passed on their opportunity to claim Bard and may have been hoping that he cleared waivers and was released outright.
When a player is claimed off waivers, the player is offered up to each team who then has a chance to put a claim in on that player. The order of who gets to claim the player first is determined by record and league, so the worst team in the same league has the first chance of putting a claim on a player and once every team in the league that the team of the player being put on waivers has had a chance to put in a claim, the process starts over again in the opposite league with the worst record team going first. So since the Cubs were able to claim Bard, it means that Bard went through all of the teams in the American League before he was offered to the Cubs. This raises the question: why would the Twins not take a chance on Bard?
One reason could certainly stem from the injuries that have plagued the 28-year-old’s 2013 season, as he’s only pitched in just one inning in the majors this year and has a 6.46 ERA in 15.1 minor league innings this season which were mostly spent at Double-A Portland. Bard reportedly still has two years of arbitration remaining and is only making $1,862,500 this year; that apparently wasn’t enough for the Twins to claim the reliever.
Another reason the Twins chose to pass on Bard could stem from the Twins simply not wanting to pay Bard or complete a trade with Boston in order to acquire him. A trade would likely require the Twins to part with one of their prospects—potentially—or send Boston some cash in return for Bard’s services. If the recent trades are any indication, neither giving up a prospect nor absorbing cash seem particularly high on the Twins’ list of things to do this year; hence, the Twins decided against claiming Bard. It is possible the team would have pursued Bard as a free agent, but that would have required Bard passing all the way through waivers which he didn’t. Had he become a free agent, the Twins would have been able to sign Bard to a contract they liked instead of the one he currently owns.
I believe it is too soon to give up on Bard and I believe that the right-hander still has a lot of good baseball ahead of him. I would have loved to see the Twins put a claim in on Bard and acquire a power-arm to add to their bullpen; however, I do understand the Twins logic for passing on him. I do believe Bard has a good chance of bouncing back next year and is simply in need of a change of scenery—and to get healthy—in order to get his career back on track. Remember, Bard did post a 3.33 ERA in 73 innings for Boston as recently as 2011, so it isn’t like this kid hasn’t been effective before. He simply has fallen on tough times with injuries and misfortune and needs to regain his confidence back to return to form.
Hopefully for Bard, that confidence he’s in search of will return to him in Chicago. If not, the door can reopen for a possible Bard reunion back in Minnesota.