Re: Bard and his excuses, concerning?
posted at 12/29/2012 5:15 PM EST
"It does seem he's placing blame on others and making excuses. Coaches asking him how's he feeling, etc., and the media asking about the conversion to a starter -- that's all normal stuff that should be expected. If he couldn't handle that, no wonder the Sox weren't keen on making him the closer and no wonder he struggled.
There's no way of knowing for sure, but I think he would have blown up like he did even if the Sox made him the closer. He melted down late in 2011 when he still was in his comfortable set-up role."
IMO, Bard does not have the mental toughness and short memory that someone like Papelbon has. That's not to say that he couldn't succeed in a starting or closing role, but all of the questions and uncertainty surrounding his attempted conversion to a SP certainly seems to have affected him more than it would affect someone like Paps.
That said, I think it's important for any player to feel like his coaches and, in particular, his manager have his back and are 100% supportive of whatever role that player is assigned. Just speculation, but I get the feeling that Valentine never really gave Bard his vote of confidence as a starter, or at the very least, he and his coaching staff were not communicating with Bard very well.
That's not to say it was the coach's fault, and I don't think Bard should be making excuses regardless. I just don't think his conversion to SP was handled very well. In a perfect world, he would have had time to in AAA to acclimate himself to that role.
Also, as you mentioned, he struggled at the end of 2011. I'm not convinced that he would have been lights out had he stayed in the pen, even in his familiar set up role.
Anyway, I'm hopeful that he will be able to regain his form.