It is hard to believe that just a few years ago in 2011 Daniel Bard was then a top reliever in the game. A dominant setup man for the Boston Red Sox, he was armed with an array of pitches that darted and danced across the plate effortlessly. It appeared that Bard was on the cusp on becoming a dominant force in the league.
Flash forward three years and the story of Daniel Bard is no longer one of an elite relief pitcher, but someone who is trying his hardest to get back to the Major League level with the Texas Rangers.
This week Bard hit another major roadblock on his path back to the majors. His career now hangs in the balance once more, as the Rangers released the 28-year old right-hander on Tuesday.
At the time of his release, Bard was pitching for the Class A Hickory Crawdads of the South Atlantic League. He pitched in just four games this season. After the fourth game there was little reason for the Rangers to continue with the Daniel Bard project.
Through the four games that he pitched in, Bard retired just two of the eighteen hitters he faced. He finished with an unheard of 175.50 ERA, a WHIP of 13.50 and a rate of 121.5 walks per nine innings. Oddly enough, he did not allow a single hit in any of his appearances and managed to strikeout one batter.
The fact is, it appears that Bard cannot be placed in a competitive situation. At least not after being unable to retire a single hitter in three of four outings. This leaves his career precariously hanging in the balance.
While he has had some control issues in the past, most notably in college, it appears that his current issues could be either one of two things. Either the impact of the surgery he had to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome on his arm or just as possibly, it could be something psychological that is keeping the righty from throwing strikes.
Either way one thing is strikingly obvious, the pitcher that he once was is now in the past. Bard must now rebuild himself completely, one more time, to be the pitcher that he has shown he has the potential to be.