Daniel Bard has been a mess at Double-A this season and may have reached rock bottom last night, as the once-dominant Red Sox reliever walked five and uncorked two wild pitches in one inning of work.
Just eight of his 30 total pitches were strikes and Bard has now walked 17 batters in 12.2 innings at Double-A overall this season, including 13 walks in 3.2 innings since returning after a brief call-up to the Red Sox.
Bard was one of the best relievers in baseball from 2009-2011, throwing 197 innings with a 2.88 ERA, but his attempted transition to the rotation went horribly and he’s been a disaster ever since. At this point he’s basically in Steve Blass/Rick Ankiel/Mark Wohlers territory.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.
Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.
Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.
Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.