St. Louis Cardinals Sign RHP Daniel Bard to Minor-League Deal

Jerome Miron- USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron- USA TODAY Sports /

The Cardinals are taking a chance on a reliever who’s struggled mightily for the past several seasons.

According to the weekly minor-league transactions page published by Baseball America‘s Matt Eddy, the St. Louis Cardinals have signed righthanded pitcher Daniel Bard to a minor-league contract. The 30-year-old is best remembered by most for his dominance in the Boston Red Sox bullpen in 2010 and most of 2011. Though he’s been under contract virtually the entire time, Bard hasn’t actually pitched in an official minor-league contest since June of 2014, so it’s safe to say that the Cards have a project on their hands.

Once upon a time, Bard was an extremely effective big-league reliever, throwing for a 1.98 ERA over 132 appearances between April of 2010 and August of 2011. But since an unexplainable collapse in September of 2011, Bard has been legendarily terrible at both the major-league and minor-league levels. His 10.64 ERA over 11 outings that September was a major factor in the Sox’s epic collapse. Since then, he hasn’t had an ERA below 6.00 during any stint at any level where he’s made more than two appearances in a given season.

After the Red Sox and Cubs unsuccessfully attempted to work through Bard’s issues in low-pressure environments, giving him opportunities in Double-A and extended spring training, the Texas Rangers organization took a chance on him in 2014.

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That’s when his professional career hit its lowest point, as he was assigned to the Low-A Hickory Crawdads. Over four appearances, Bard accumulated a 175.50 ERA, allowing 13 earned runs while walking nine batters and hitting another seven while recording just two outs in four appearances.

Since then, he’s had another stint in the Cubs organization and had spent all of 2016 in the Pirates’ system before being released on May 13. However, he never pitched in an official game with either of those teams, spending all of his time either on the disabled list or in extended spring training. Bard did pitch in four major-league spring training games for the Pirates in March, allowing three earned runs on three hits and two walks in 1.2 innings.

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Ultimately, Bard is a low-risk investment for a Cardinals organization that has a history of resurrecting troubled pitchers. With that said, one has to wonder how many more chances Bard is going to get, seeing as he hasn’t even been mildly effective at any level in nearly five years.