Daniel Bard’s hopes of rejoining the Red Sox sometime in September have just been tarnished.
According to beat writer Alex Speier of WEEI.com, the right-hander was designated for assignment on Sunday morning to clear a 40-man roster spot for new outfielder Quintin Berry. The Red Sox also added catcher Ryan Lavarnway, right-handed reliever Rubby De La Rosa and third baseman Brandon Snyder in a flurry of September moves.
Bard recently resumed pitching in minor league games after missing three months with a severe abdominal strain and the early returns have not been good. Bard walked five of the six batters he faced Thursday afternoon in a Gulf Coast League game and issued four more walks Saturday night in a one-inning appearance with the Low-A Lowell Spinners.
Bard posted a 2.62 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 9.1 K/9 in 147 2/3 innings for the Red Sox in 2010 and 2011, but he struggled mightily in 2012 and now the 28-year-old from North Carolina has fallen off the baseball grid.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.