January 5, 2018

Daniel Bard Announces Retirement

Former Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard has retired from professional baseball, almost five seasons after he threw his last pitch in a Boston uniform.

When he arrived on 2010, Bard was a hard-throwing set-up man, posting a superb 1.93 ERA and striking out 76 batters in 74.2 innings. But he struggled in September 2011, walking nine batters in 11 innings. Over the winter, the Red Sox decided to make him a starter. It did not go well, though there is no evidence that the move to the rotation contributed to his decline.

In his second start of 2012, Bard walked seven batters in 6.2 innings. In six starts in May, he walked 21 and hit five in 34 innings. On June 3, Bard walked six of the 13 batters he faced in Toronto. He did not appear in another game for almost three months.

Bard pitched only twice for the 2013 Red Sox. His final game came on April 27 against Houston. He faced two batters and walked them both, on nine pitches. That will now also stand as his final major league appearance.

Bard tried for years to regain his control and make his way back to the majors, but nothing worked. He spent time with the Cubs, Rangers, Cubs (again), Pirates, Cardinals, and Mets. His minor and winter league numbers are beyond sad.
          IP    H    R   BB    K   WP
2013     15.1  14   13   27    9   11
2013-14   0.1   0    8    9    0    4
2014      0.2   0   13    9    1    0
2016      3.0   3    8   13    1    6
2017      9.1   6   14   24    7    7
         28.2  23   56   82   18   28
Bard spoke at length to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation:
It's a strange phenomenon, and the crazy thing is, with the more people I talk to, is how little people know about it. People can explain it to you, like telling you what's happening in your brain and why it happens to some people and doesn't happen to other people. They can explain what's happening, but no one has a reliable way of saying how to make things better.
Alex Speier, 108 Stitches: "Bard's pursuit of a return was a lonely one – a Red Sox pitcher once told me that he never talked to the pitcher about his control struggles because the mere idea of them was too terrifying to contemplate."

Bard, who turned 32 last summer: "I was able to pitch in the big leagues for almost four years. Would I have loved for it to be 15? Yeah, that would be great. But I got four years. Four years more than a lot of really good players get."

Jon Tayler, Sports Illustrated:
Watch that [August 9, 2010] pitch to Swisher: a 99-mph fastball with changeup movement, like a reverse slider on full tilt. You and I have both seen swings that come up empty, swings that never had a chance to connect, swings that were misguided disasters. But Swisher's whiff is futility made flesh (or at least maple); he was so overmatched and flummoxed that he might as well have turned around and taken a cut in the other direction. It's a pitch so ludicrous, so hard to understand that the only explanation for it is some kind of magic.
You know what makes those pitches even more amazing? The Red Sox were ahead 2-0, but the Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh against Jon Lester. Bard faced Derek Jeter: called strike, foul, swinging strike. Bard faced Nick Swisher: called strike, foul, swinging strike. End of threat, with the final pitch being 100% pure filth.

1 comment:

Zenslinger said...

I loved this guy in his day. It's too bad he lost it somehow, but you have to respect the way he tried to come back.