Home > MLB > 40 Guys in 30 Days: Daniel Bard

40 Guys in 30 Days: Daniel Bard

I’m sick of mediocrity. Sure, there was a lot of it involved in the makeup of the 2012 Red Sox, but that’s not the whole story; there was also a whole bunch of complete catastrophic failure that anyone with two brain cells to rub together could have seen coming, but this team didn’t. Let’s talk about some of that!

Daniel Bard
2012 stats: MLB: 57 IP, 36 K, 37 BB, 8 HR
5.37 ERA, 6.04 FIP, 5.71 xFIP, -0.3 fWAR, -0.1 bWAR
AAA: 32 IP, 32 K, 29 BB, 2 HR
7.03 ERA, 5.67 FIP
2013 contract status: Arbitration (second time*; $1.6 million in 2012)
* Bard was a Super Two player; he is under team control through 2015

In 2007, the Red Sox tried to make Daniel Bard a starter. This wasn’t a terrible idea, because it was his first pro season, but nobody really expected it to work out. It failed. In 2008, he was a reliever, and he was dominant. The next year he was in the majors, and by all accounts he was a damn fine reliever for the next two and a half years.

But then, for reasons that were never fully explained and will never make sense in any way, the Red Sox tried to make Daniel Bard a starter again. Even though they had already watched him fail miserably at it–at single-A, mind you–and even though they had a big, Papelbon-sized hole to fill in the bullpen. To the surprise of basically nobody, it failed. Again. And now Daniel Bard’s broken, possibly for good.

Making Daniel Bard a starter was never going to work out because Bard has one good pitch: His fastball. When he averaged 97 miles per hour with the fastball, Bard was able to get batters to swing at pitches out of the zone nearly a third of the time; stretched out as a starter and only getting it up to 93, that dropped to less than a quarter of the time. Everything Bard did as a reliever, whether it was blowing someone away or making them chase a slider or freezing them with the rare changeup, was based off of that fastball. Making him a starter took that away, and he fell apart as a result of it.

Unfortunately, as easy as it was for the Red Sox to completely ruin Bard, it hasn’t been that easy to fix him. His strikeouts are back now that he’s coming out of the bullpen against AAA hitters, but the walks are worse than ever. In the month of August, Bard walked twelve hitters against just eight strikeouts in 8.2 IP. That encouraging performance was enough to get him promoted back to the majors, for some reason, and he’s given up two home runs in two innings since his return. It’s as if the Red Sox hope that nobody will notice how they completely, totally, and utterly botched this entire thing.

Which, you know, they might. I mean, they keep insisting that Bobby V’s the guy they want managing the team, after all.

Next time: A guy who threw a no-hitter!!!!! (And is bad.)

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