Daniel Bard retires from baseball

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Daniel Bard was a first round pick of the Boston Red Sox back in 2006. For a brief period, he looked like a future star. Then it all fell apart and he could never get it back together. Now Bard has called it a career, reports Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.

Bard broke into the bigs with the Red Sox in 2009. He was solid that year and spectacular coming out of the Boston pen in 2010, posting a 1.93 ERA in 73 games as the Sox’ primary setup man. At the end of another above average year in 2011, the wheels fell off. He cratered in the final month of that season, just as the Red Sox cratered, missing the playoffs despite being favored to win the AL East. While the “chicken and beer” Red Sox got all of the press, Bard’s poor performance at the end of the season likely had more to do with the team’s poor record than any amount of high profile clubhouse antics did.  In 2012 the Red Sox tried to make him a starter, and it did not go well. In 2013 he pitched in only two games. They were the final two games of his major league career.

After being released by the Red Sox he embarked on an odyssey through multiple organizations — he pitched for the Rangers, Cardinals and Mets and was signed by the Cubs but never suited up for any of their affiliates — with often horrific results due to a horrible lack of control. He spent all of 2015 out of professional baseball and when he came back in 2016 and 2017, nothing had really changed. For anyone who enjoyed him pitch when he first came up and imagined that he’d one day profile as an All-Star, his post-2011 journey has been one of the more unfortunate things to watch in all of baseball. Whether it was a mental block, a  physical defect or simply a quick and precipitous decline didn’t matter in the end.

Bard tells Cotillo that, in the end, the notion of being away from his family in order to continue to try to make his baseball career work seemed increasingly distasteful, so he hung ’em up. Here’s hoping he finds a happiness and success in retirement that mostly eluded him as a player.

 

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.