Looking to potentially catch lightning in a bottle, the Texas Rangers have signed Daniel Bard to a minor league deal according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. There is no indication whether or not Bard will receive an invitation to Spring Training.
#rangers agree to deal with daniel bard. has talent, worth a gamble.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 1, 2014
Bard spent parts of five seasons with the Boston Red Sox, compiling a 3.67 ERA and 1.220 WHIP across 257.1 IP. The first three years of his career he was highly effective out of the bullpen, making 70+ appearances in each of the 2010 and 2011 seasons with a combined WHIP of 0.982. Jonathan Papelbon was sure to depart via free agency and Bard would appear a likely successor to replace him.
Boston elected to convert Bard back into a starter heading into 2012. Some changes to his mechanics and struggles began, ultimately sending Bard into a spiral in which he’s appeared to lose all confidence. He walked 45 batters in his last 60.1 IP in the Major Leagues and then followed it up with 56 walks in 47.1 IP in the minors. The Chicago Cubs selected Bard off of waivers from the Red Sox this past September, but ended up non-tendering him in December. His stint playing winter league ball was also cut short, following even more control issues.
Bard likely has a long way to go before he’ll be able to work his way into the Texas bullpen again, but presumably the two sides have an agreement in place in which he’ll willingly spend some time in the minor leagues to prove he’s harnessed his control. Bard is just 28, leaving time for him regain some semblance of his old form.