Today Daniel Bard announced that he’s decided that he should go back to the bullpen and the team agrees. Despite Bard blowing the save in Pawtucket last night and throwing two wild pitches, I think it’s the right move.
For a couple days now I’m been debating writing an article pleading with the Red Sox to move Bard back to the pen. I’m glad that they are finally seeing things my way.
If we look at Bard’s minor league numbers, in 07 he was a starter and his ERA was 7.08, his WHIP was 2.053, Bard averaged over one walk and one hit per inning yet he only averaged 5.5 strikeouts per 9. Those are terrible numbers. The next year he moved to the pen. He pitched in 46 games, finishing 17, with an ERA of 1.51, a WHIP of .0927, his hits per 9 dropped to 4.9 and his walks per 9 dropped to 3.5. His strikeouts per 9 jumped to 12.4. And the rest is history.
We know what he did this year as a starter and we know what he did last season as a reliever. So why not move him to the pen? If Bard bounces back to last year’s numbers he can be the closer. Alfredo Aceves has done a decent job but he’d be so valuable in the 8th. Once Andrew Bailey comes back, he could take over the 9th, with Bard going to the 8th, and Aceves being the all so valuable bullpen guy that can pitch in any spot in the game, much like he did last year. That would make for a very good bullpen. Bard should the piece that this bullpen is built around. Hasn’t that been the story as long as we remember? We heard it again and again, closer of the future, closer of the future. So why did they bother to change it? Was the starting pitching market that tight this off-season?
Imagine if the Red Sox decided this before the season? They’d be able to keep either Marco Scutaro or Jed Lowrie, or trade them for something else. Right now Boston has Clayton Mortensen and Mark Melancon to show for it. What if they decided that they didn’t need to completely rebuild the bullpen? Which by the way, if we look at it now, looks pretty similar to last year, minus Bard and Jonathan Papelbon.
Just another case of team mismanagement.