There was never really a chance that he’d return to Boston, but former Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard has reached an agreement on a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers according to Jon Heyman at CBS Sports. It doesn’t appear as though Bard will receive an invitation to Spring Training. He’s likely agreed to spend some time in the minor leagues first, which is likely going to be needed.
Originally joining Boston as a reliever during the 2009 season. Over the next three seasons he’d be a big piece of the Red Sox bullpen, combining his efforts into a 2.88 ERA and 1.056 WHIP across 197.0 IP. He’d make 70+ appearances in each of the 2010 and 2011 seasons, lending to the argument that he could be an option to replace Jonathan Papelbon in the closer’s role following the season.
Papelbon departed for a big money deal in Philadelphia, but Bard instead was converted back into a starter heading into 2012. Changes to his mechanics led to struggles on the mound, ultimately sending Bard into a spiral in which he’s seemingly lost all confidence. He walked 45 batters over his last 60.1 IP in the Major Leagues, resulting in a trip back to the minors. There’d he walk 56 over his next 47.1 IP. Even his stint this year in winter ball was cut short over concerns regarding his control.
Boston lost Bard originally last September, when the Chicago Cubs selected him off of waivers. They’d ultimately non-tender him in December which allowed him to reach the free agent market.
The road won’t be a short one for him to regain his old form, but at just 28 years of age there still could be some potential left. If he can turn things around he’ll give the Rangers an additional weapon at the back of their bullpen.