Rob Bradford caught up with Daniel Bard in Fort Meyers yesterday and the subject of the young man’s role came up:
“How do you view yourself, as a reliever or a starter?”
“I see myself as a pitcher,” he responded without hesitation following his Thursday workout at the Red Sox minor-league training facility … Bard, a starter in college and throughout his first professional season, likes the idea of perhaps re-entering the world of a starting rotation somewhere down the line.
“I kind of would like to try it. It’s something I would like to do,” said Bard of starting again. “It would kind of challenge myself. You’ve never proven yourself, but I know I can do the reliever thing for myself, just as a personal challenge, [starting] would be cool.”
Some talent evaluator scouty type like Keith Law or Kevin Goldstein recently said on Twitter that Bard is decidedly not cut out to return to starting. I searched around for the discussion but I couldn’t find it, so I’m not sure what the basis was for the assessment.
My sense, though, is that if there is a team who would give a guy every reasonable opportunity to start before making a him into a reliever, it’s the Red Sox. That they have no problem with his current role and have shown no indication to want to change it suggests to me that, no, Bard doesn’t profile at all well as a starter.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.