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The Daniel Bard train gains momentum

Oct 22, 2009, 10:55 AM EDT

Every few days you see another article like this about Daniel Bard in the Boston media:

There’s little doubt that with his potential, Bard could conceivably be a big-league closer right away. He has an overpowering fastball that regularly hits 98 or 99 on the gun, and his fast-developing slider has become a solid secondary pitch. With that arsenal alone, he could be a lights-out guy in the ninth inning . . . Bard deserves a shot at the big time. He’s a 45-save season waiting to happen.

Like the others I’ve seen, this article plays it passive and doesn’t explicitly demand that the Sox trade Jonathan Papelbon.  But it’s apparent that the “oh, whatever shall we do with the bullpen logjam occasioned by the presence of the increasingly expensive and suddenly unreliable Papelbon” talk is really lobbying for just that very thing.

Should Boston trade Papelbon?  I think the answer to that question lies with Billy Wagner.  Bard could crash and burn in his first taste of the closer’s role, and it would be awfully nice to have someone else around to help ease the transition.  If Wagner is serious about wanting to retire, convince him to hang around one last year and play John Wetteland to Bard’s Mariano Rivera.  If he demands multiple years, give him two — assuming they’re not outrageous — and transition Bard from setup guy to closer between next year and mid-2011.

The key here is that by trading Papelbon, you have his almost certain-to-be-disrupting presence out of the way as you anoint Bard the future closer. And you get something for him in return.  Seems worth exploring to me.

  1. kevin stewart - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:01 PM

    I think you should keep Pap where he is and leave Bard at setup person.

  2. Daniel - Oct 22, 2009 at 12:54 PM

    Daniel Bard,
    It is someone worth the wait,to be honest it will do them good to bringing him along the way to become the Red Sox next closer, he has the tools to get it done. I enjoy watching him perform and succeed. We like what we are seeing in him, he can get the job done and stays calm through out any situation. I do believe mid summer he will be closing more games into the playoffs.

  3. Stultus Magnus - Oct 22, 2009 at 1:17 PM

    Trade Papelbon while he still has value, they could probably get a decent package for him.

  4. Kevin S. - Oct 22, 2009 at 1:20 PM

    It depends what you could get back for him. If the Werth-for-Papelbon rumors have any truth, that’s an easy move to pull the trigger on, but it’s not like Papelbon is “blocking” Bard. Relief aces are relief aces, and there’s nothing that says you can’t have two of them on your team.

  5. scatterbrian - Oct 22, 2009 at 1:46 PM

    setup person?
    That’s taking PC too far…

  6. scatterbrian - Oct 22, 2009 at 2:02 PM

    Werth is signed for $7M next season. Taylor is probably a year away and Francisco isn’t a guarantee as an everyday player. Why would Philly even consider trading him?

  7. Andrew - Oct 22, 2009 at 2:27 PM

    One thing to consider is that the Sox might be thinking about moving Bard from the pen to the rotation. He did start in college, and he has enough pitches to be a starter. It’s widely acknowledged that most starting pitchers are more valuable than relievers, so you have to figure the Sox front office is looking hard at making Bard a starter to maximize his value to the team.

  8. Cru11 - Oct 22, 2009 at 2:43 PM

    People once thought as Joba to be a possible and solid starting pitcher with 3 plus pitches. Do not and I mean do NOT move Bard to the rotation. Not when you have Beckett, Buchholz and Lester.

  9. Joey B - Oct 22, 2009 at 5:34 PM

    I’d be shocked if Bard was made a starter. The solution to having two closers, if we do, is to trade one of them to another team needing a closer, in return for something we need. Not to experiment trying to make a closer into a starter.

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