Daniel Bard’s comeback is officially underway, as the Colorado Rockies are rolling the dice that he is over his command issues.
When Daniel Bard once again announced his desire to make a comeback, there was a bit of a collective groan. His command had deserted him back in 2012, and none of his previous attempts to return had met with any success. Bard was serving as a mentor with the Diamondbacks, allowing him to remain around the game that he loved. Yet, the siren song of the mound was more than he could bear.
And now, his comeback is officially underway. Following a recent showcase where he threw in front of scouts, Bard has signed a contract with the Colorado Rockies. While it is a minor league deal, Bard will report to the major league portion of spring training.
For a time, Bard was a burgeoning star in the Red Sox bullpen. Over his first three seasons, Bard posted a 2.88 ERA and a 1.056 WHiP, striking out 213 batters with 76 walks in his 197 innings. An ill advised attempt to put him in the rotation seemingly destroyed his confidence, leading to a horrific case of the yips.
While he had attempted several comeback attempts, signing with the Rangers, Cardinals, and Mets, his nadir may have come in 2014. Between his time in the Puerto Rican Winter League and the Rangers farm system, Bard either hit or walked 28 of the 31 batters he faced. Although his time with the Cardinals and Mets was not to that level, his previous comeback attempts were a disaster.
For Colorado, the now 34 year old does make for a worthwhile roll of the dice. The Rockies bullpen is relatively unsettled, given the lack of success they have received from free agent signings Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Bryan Shaw. All three of those pitchers are slated to be free agents after this coming season, as it is unlikely that the Rockies will pick up any of those options. Should they have a rough start to the season, and Bard shows his prior form, he could end up being a part of the bullpen mix.
But that is still a long way away. Before any possible speculation about Bard being able to contribute to the Rockies, he needs to show that he can step on the mound without looking like the second coming of Rick Vaughn.
The Colorado Rockies are rolling the dice with Daniel Bard. With a somewhat unsettled bullpen, if he can find his command once again, he could well return to the majors.