Daniel Bard’s move from the bullpen to the rotation is officially over after 10 starts, as the right-hander told the Red Sox that he no longer wants to be a starter.
“I know I can be a good starter, but I already know I’m a great reliever,” Bard explained to Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston.
McDonald reports that Bard talked recently with general manager Ben Cherington, who’s in agreement with the move back to the bullpen. Of course, now he must actually pitch well enough at Triple-A to deserve a call-up and Bard has struggled some as a reliever for Pawtucket since his demotion.
Bard had a 5.30 ERA in 10 starts, showing decreased velocity with more walks (36) than strikeouts (34) in 54 innings. By comparison he had a 2.87 ERA and 213/77 K/BB ratio in 198 career innings as a reliever, ranking among the most dominant setup men in baseball from 2009-2011.
Whether or not you think the idea of giving Bard an opportunity to start was a sound one it seems fairly obvious that the Red Sox could have handled the situation better and it’s even more obvious that Bard simply didn’t pitch well in the rotation. Now the question is whether he can rediscover his old, overpowering raw stuff and how quickly he’ll be back in the Red Sox’s bullpen.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.