Given the fact that it was Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein who invested a first-round pick in Daniel Bard back in 2006 when he was still general manager of the Red Sox, John Farrell wasn’t at all surprised by the news that the Cubs claimed Bard off waivers today.
Once a lights-out setup man, the 28-year-old righthander was derailed by injuries and confidence issues, struggling to regain the form that saw him record 79 holds in his first three seasons.
Bard’s decline started last season as he transitioned to a role in the starting rotation. He went 4-6 as a starter, never completely making the adjustment, and was demoted to Triple A Pawtucket in June.
In 31 minor league appearances this season with Double A Portland, Single A Lowell, and the Gulf Coast League, Bard gave up 13 runs on 14 hits in 15.1 innings, walking 27 batters and throwing 11 wild pitches before being shut down in May.
He was designated for assignment by the Sox on Sunday. Farrell said he still believes Bard can be successful again, but the need for a roster spot made it necessary to part ways.
“I guess the most important thing is we wish him well,” Farrell said. “We hope he gets back on track. There’s still a good pitcher in there once he gets back on track, we believe.
“I’m not going to say that he can’t. There’s still a player and a pitcher there that is motivated, and yet any time that there’s activity disrupted by an injury, it’s going to slow that process. Time was of the essence with us, needing a roster space.
“Based on what we saw over the past couple of years, it needs to be built back gradually, and however long that takes is the unknown in this.”