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.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.