Today, the Chicago Cubs claimed right-handed reliever Daniel Bard off of waivers from the Boston Red Sox. The 28-year-old was dominant from 2009 to 2011 before an ill-fated conversion to the rotation seems to have sapped him of his ability to locate the strike zone.
Earlier this week, I wrote about the possibility of the Cubs claiming Bard off of waivers, and there you can read more about his career arc. Here’s a snippet:
For all of the positive signals on Bard, unless the Cubs know something about his struggles this year that other teams don’t, we’re still talking about a guy who hasn’t been able to find the strike zone for two years. He’s young enough and talented enough to work it out, but paying him big league money on that hope is probably not the best use of the Cubs’ apparently limited funds right now.
That doesn’t mean the Cubs might not try to grab him now, though, and then pull off some roster maneuvering of their own.
Indeed, the Cubs could try to grab him now, and then themselves waive him at a more advantageous time this Winter (perhaps soon before the Rule 5 Draft, when teams often find it difficult to open up a spot to just hang onto a guy). If he clears, the Cubs could try and outright him off of the 40-man roster (subject to various rules about Bard’s right to elect free agency as a player with at least three years’ service time (though, at that point, he’d be a near lock to receive only a minor league contract anyway, so he might not elect free agency)). At the end of the process, if everything worked out all right and Bard decided to stick with the Cubs, they could have a nice lottery ticket who isn’t making big league bucks and isn’t taking up a 40-man roster spot.
We’ll see if that’s what the Cubs try to do with Bard, who definitely needs some work over the offseason. Now that he’s actually on the Cubs, rather than me merely speculating about him being on the Cubs, I’ll have more on Bard soon.
Bard’s 40-man spot comes courtesy of Cole Gillespie, who was just designated for assignment. He wasn’t likely to stick on the Cubs’ 40-man roster past September anyway, so the move is unsurprising.