Daniel Bard is still a mess

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Daniel Bard signed a minor-league contract with the Rangers after being let go by the Red Sox and Cubs last season, and the once-dominant reliever made his season debut yesterday at Single-A.

It did not go well. Bard faced four batters, plunking three of them and walking the other.

Bard had a combined 2.88 ERA with 213 strikeouts in 197 innings through his first three seasons with the Red Sox, including an excellent year as recently as 2011, but now he’s 29 years old and completely lost thanks to extreme control problems.

Last season in the minors he walked 27 batters and uncorked 11 wild pitches in 15 innings and things seem to be getting even worse. How sad.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.