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Former Red Sox Set-Up Man Daniel Bard Announces Retirement

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Several outlets reported on Thursday that former Boston Red Sox set-up man Daniel Bard had officially announced his retirement.

Bard, 32, last pitched in the majors in April 2013 for Boston, making two appearances that season.

In a five-year career with the Red Sox which started in 2009, Bard was 10-19 in 211 games (10 starts, all in 2012) with a 3.67 ERA.

Bard’s fall from grace is one of the sadder that baseball has seen in recent memory. After a solid 2009 rookie season, Bard was one of the best relievers in baseball from 2010-11, recording a 2.62 ERA in 143 relief outings with 66 holds.

The Red Sox planned to make Bard a starting pitcher in 2012, which turned out to be a huge mistake. In 10 starts, he recorded a 5.30 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. After an early June start where Bard walked six batters while recording only five outs, Boston sent him to the minors for nearly three months. In six relief outings to end the season, Bard allowed nine earned runs in 4 1/3 innings for an ERA of 18.69.

Boston released Bard on September 1, 2013 after his control in the minors had begun to implode (27 walks in 15 1/3 innings). He was signed by the Texas Rangers in January 2014; and in four single-A relief outings, hit seven batters, walked nine, and allowed 13 earned runs while recording two outs for an ERA of 175.00.

Bard didn’t pitch in the minors in 2015. In 2016, he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In eight relief outings in the minors, he walked 13 batters in three innings with an ERA of 24.00 before being released in May.

Since being released by the Pirates, Bard signed Minor League deals with the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets but still couldn’t get back on track, walking 24 batters in 9 1/3 innings spanning 11 relief outings.

To summarize, Bard hit 16 batters, walked 73, posted a 3.32 WHIP, and 14.61 ERA in 39 Minor League relief outings (28 1/3 innings) since 2013.

Truly a shame that Bard’s career imploded so fast and the way it did. Multiple comeback attempts but just couldn’t regain his command. Rick Ankiel 101 type of stuff.

The Red Sox never should have made Bard a starter, though it’s worth pointing out that his problems actually began before that. One year prior, during Boston’s infamous September 2011 collapse, Bard went 0-4 with a 10.64 ERA in 11 innings spanning 11 games. He also walked nine, which surpassed his total of eight for the previous three months. Boston went 7-20 that September, becoming the first team in Major League history to blow a nine-game playoff lead entering the final month; and Bard was arguably the biggest reason why.

Failure like that can absolutely crush a guy’s confidence. Bard entered the month with a 2.03 ERA, and finished it to the tune of 3.33. He chose the worst time to choke, to lose his usual dominant “stuff”, and as a result, the Red Sox missed the playoffs.

Who knows what Bard’s career may have been like had he not struggled so much in that fateful September. Or got thrown into a starting role the very next year. And would the Red Sox tried to have transitioned him if he didn’t struggle so much in September?

Nonetheless, a sad fall from the spotlight for the once promising Bard. Hopefully he can find success elsewhere in whatever pursuit he chooses.

American League

2019 Trade Deadline Highlights

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In a shocking, last-minute deal, Zack Greinke has a new home (CBS Sports).

This year’s Trade Deadline in the MLB wasn’t as boisterous as previous seasons and might rank as one of the less-exciting ones in history. There was still a good number of high-profile moves, however, and a few big names went on to new homes. Here’s a look at the more notable acquisitions of July 31, 2019 and how they will impact the teams that got the big returns.

Blue Jays trade RHP Marcus Stroman to Mets in exchange for RHP Anthony Kay, RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson

The move that unofficially kicked off trading season was a bit of a head scratcher. It had long been rumored that Toronto was shopping ace Marcus Stroman, but the team he ended up with isn’t exactly a contender. The Mets are currently four games under .500 and may not be vying for the postseason in 2019. The move is likely another part of the Mets rebuilding process, and since Noah Syndergaard stayed put, New York may have a formidable rotation next season.

Indians acquire LHP Scott Moss, OF Yasiel Puig from Reds and OF Franmil Reyes, LHP Logan Allen and IF Victor Nova from Padres, Padres acquire OF Taylor Trammell from Reds, Indians acquire Reds acquire RHP Trevor Bauer from Indians

The literal biggest trade of the day was a this three-team blockbuster. Trevor Bauer firing the ball over the center field wall on Sunday after he was pulled in the fifth inning ended up being the last pitch he threw in an Indians uniform. A day later the Tribe rid itself of his petulance and pulled off a massive trade with intrastate rival Cincinnati as well as San Diego that saw Bauer go to the Reds and Reds top prospect Taylor Tramell go to the Friars. Cleveland received a host of players from both teams, most namely Yasiel Puig, who is ironically also known as a prima donna.

Though Bauer is undeniably talented when he keeps his act together and bolsters the Reds attempts to trend upward, San Diego may have won the trade with Tramell, MLB’s no. 30 overall prospect.

Rays acquire 1B Jesus Aguilar from Brewers in exchange for RHP Jacob Faria

Milwaukee was certainly brewing before the Deadline and made a commendable effort to improve its pitching. GM David Stearns’ most notable move was a straight swap with the Rays that brought back righty Jacob Faria in exchange for power hitting 1B Jesus Aguilar. Aguilar is having a down year but has proven many times that he can be deadly. He gives the Rays the big bat they’ve been seeking in their hunt for a Wild Card berth.

It’s a good move for both sides because it clears Milwaukee’s infield logjam and gives the team another quality starter. Faria never quite broke out in Tampa Bay but a change of scenery always has potential to pay dividends. After having already gotten Jordan Lyles from Pittsburgh on Monday, the Brewers made another move and got Drew Pomeranz from San Fransisco later on Wednesday. Though none of the returns are big name guys, Milwaukee is serious about making another run after coming so close last year.

Cubs acquire OF Nicholas Castellanos from Tigers in exchange for RHP Alex Lange and RHP Paul Richan.

The Cubs made their chances of taking the NL Central back even better with this move. Nicholas Castellanos has been one of the MLB’s more underrated players in recent years, largely because he was on the Tigers after the team’s glory days of the early 2010s ended. Adding him to a lineup that already includes Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras and Javier Baez gives the Cubbies even more firepower, especially given Castellanos success vs. lefty pitchers. It’s also a great move for him personally as he gets to join a contending team at last. The Cubs are vying to appear in the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season, and their chances look pretty good.

Astros acquire RHP Zack Greinke from Diamondbacks in exchange for RHP Corbin Martin, RHP JB Bukauskas, IF Josh Rojas and IF Seth Beer

If Houston was scary good before this trade, they’re terrifyingly good now. The Astros just added Zack Greinke to a rotation that already includes Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in a last-minute deal that wasn’t announced until after the deadline officially passed. Arizona received a package of four minor leaguers in return as the team is now officially in the rebuilding process.

Like Verlander, Greinke is in the second half of his thirties but has not declined at all and owned a 10-4 record with a 2.90 on a sub-par Diamondbacks team at the time of his departure. The six-time All-Star’s presence gives Houston the best rotation in baseball by far and should get the knees of any upcoming opponent knocking. The MLB said it best on Instagram today, “Facing Houston? You have a problem.”

Notable non-moves:

  • After being heavily rumored as top targets, Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard and Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner are still members of their longtime teams.
  • The Boston Red Sox, whose bullpen has blown 18 saves, made no moves to improve its relief core, to the amazement of the team’s fanbase.
  • The New York Yankees were thought to be Syndergaard’s top suitor, but the team did not acquire any starting pitching to aid Aaron Boone’s struggling rotation.

What was the biggest move of the deadline this year? Be sure to let us know on Twitter @HomeRunDaily.

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American League

Athletics Acquire Tanner Roark

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Tanner Roark

The Oakland Athletics have acquired right hander Tanner Roark from the Cincinnati Reds, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

As part of the deal, outfielder Jamerson Hannah will be heading to Cincinnati, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, the Reds will pick up $2.1 million of Roark’s remaining salary.

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American League

Astros Acquire Martin Maldonado

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Martin Maldonado

The Houston Astros have acquired veteran catcher Martin Maldonado from the Chicago Cubs, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

As part of the deal, outfielder/second baseman Tony Kemp will be heading to the Cubs, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome.

Maldonado has posted a .217/.285/.349 slash line this season.

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