Josh Bard is back on the Red Sox– yes back! He had a short stint with the Red Sox in 2006 when he had 10 passed balls in one month! He was then traded to San Diego in which the Red Sox acquired Doug Mirabelli. Originally, Bard came over from the Indians along with Coco Crisp. I’m sure Kaybee could tell you how “Bard-o” as she calls him, did in San Diego better than I could. And Bigpapi72 had some interesting things to say about the Penny and Bard situations as well.
This is for you levelboss!
Interestingly enough, Bard caught Wakefield fine in Spring Training of ’06. He thinks that he outthought himself, which I noticed happened a couple of times this season with the Red Sox. Take for example, Clay Buchholz who was basically the Red Sox prodigy when he threw that no hitter against the O’s in ’07 but then fell “flat on his face” (like Bard did) this year. What happened? He outthought himself (and he was fine in Spring Training for the record as well, after all, he did earn the fifth spot). Luckily we still have him down in the minors!
Another one, but this only happened during one game, was Jon Lester in Game 7 of the ALCS. He was outstanding in the ALDS, and in the first game he pitched of the ALCS, but I think that it all got to his head. Everyone chalked up a win for him, but it didn’t work out. He also outthought himself. The Red Sox have got to work on this!
“I caught him fine in Spring Training and then we had those couple of off-days before the game in Texas, and I think that people were trying to help me and they were trying to help me be a better player,” Bard said, “but I think that it started to get into my head a little of, ‘Why don’t you watch some video of how Doug [Mirabelli] did it and maybe this will help you with some things.'”
Says Bard. So the Red Sox just need to let him be this time… don’t try and change his mechanics or anything.
Even Theo Epstein himself admitted it was a “short-sighted mistake”. As soon as Bard left Boston, he hit .338 with San Diego. In 2007 he hit .285… not bad. However, in 2008 he was injured and only hit .202.
On another good note about Bard, he also has experience catching a Cy Young pitcher, Jake Peavy (Kaybee and Hyun Young’s favorite!).
The thing is, Bard won’t only be catching Wakefield, he’ll have a bit more playing time this time. Hopefully, the Red Sox do retain Varitek… and if they do, I guess he’ll be getting more rest.
Here is what I would do:
I would sign Varitek to a two year deal. Varitek wouldn’t have as much playing time as last year, but he would still have more playing time than Bard.
We all know that Varitek will not catch Wakefield, he just never will. Bard will probably be catching Wakefield, as well as others on occasion.
This pretty much means we’re not getting Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Theo worked this out perfectly in my opinion because now we don’t have to give up any of our star pitchers.
If we need a back-up back-up catcher (as always) I’d say George Kottaras is the best bet that we have. Teagarden is on the Rangers anyway so if he’s not a free agent than we probably don’t want to look into him.
On another note, the Red Sox signed Type-B free agent Brad Penny to a one year $5 million dollar contract with potential $3 million dollar signing bonuses. Hopefully this will work out better than Bartolo Colon (because we all know how THAT ended). Unfortunately this probably means that we won’t be getting Derek Lowe. I’m guessing Lowe will go to the Mets now. Statistically, Brad Penny is better than AJ Burnett (not counting the 2008 season). Penny has a better career record (94-75) as well as more innings pitched, and Burnett has been playing one more year than Penny. Penny actually had back to back 16 win seasons, and I think that he’ll be able to bounce back this season. Plus it’s a low risk deal So Penny will probably be the number 4 or 5 starter, but we’ll see how he does in Spring Training.
And another rumor that came out about our favorite person, Manny Ramirez? The Giants are interested in him and they reportedly offered him a four year contract. If Manny is looking for even a remotely long term contract, this is definitely the best he’s going to get.