Daniel Bard. A few years back when that name came up in conversation with Boston Red Sox fans, it was usually about the closer of the future. The pitcher that would carry the Red Sox through successful ninth innings for years to come. Fast foward to 2014 and Bard finds himself without a job and quite possibly a career.
The Texas Rangers designated Bard for assignment today, and for good reason. I’m going to warn you, the numbers I’m about to tell you are staggering and downright dreadful. Bard faced 18 batters while pitching for their Single A affiliate, he retired only two of them. Oh, it gets even worse. Bard walked nine of those batters and hit seven of them. One of the batters he faced struck out and one batter put a ball in play. How is that even possible? Now, ready for the juicy stats? His ERA was 175.50. That is not a typo. Literally, 175.50. His WHIP stood at 13.50 and his walks per nine innings was 121.5. Oh, my head hurts.
It’s honestly sad. This is a young kid, 28 years old, who essentially is done with baseball. Something happened to Bard and there is no coming back. So where exactly did this occur? Bard had prior control issues in the minors before, but never of this magnitude. After dominating with the Red Sox in 2010, boasting a 1.93 ERA, he looked slated to take control of the closers role when Jonathan Papelbon left the Red Sox.
For some strange reason, the Red Sox decided that Bard would be stretched out to be a starter. A decision that quite frankly, everyone in the world except the Red Sox front office thought was a good idea. Naturally, the idea tanked. Bard didn’t succeed in his new role, carrying a 5.30 ERA in 10 starts and walking 36 batters in 54 innings. Since that time, Bard has never looked like the same pitcher.
As Bard hits free agency once again, it’s highly doubtful a team will take a flier on the young pitcher. His career is essentially over in such a painful and sad way. A pitcher that showed so much promise but couldn’t regain that talent. Did the Boston Red Sox ruin this kid’s career? I believe the answer is yes. The team had something good with Bard, but decided to go the cheap route and make Bard a starter without paying for one. Sadly, their cheap ways have cost a young kid his career.