Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard has fallen apart in the last two calendar years, and was designated for assignment on Sunday to make room for new additions to the 40-man roster. He still has an option to send him to the minors remaining, though, so his old bosses, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, are reportedly discussing bringing him to the Cubs, according to MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo.
Cotillo describes the discussions as "preliminary", so it's entirely possible the Cubs recoil in fear after taking a hard look at Bard's abysmal walk rates and inability to find the strike zone: Bard has issued 29 free passes in 16-1/3 innings split among four levels this year, and has registered just 10 strikeouts and a 6.63 ERA. If they aren't averse to the risk, though, he could head to Chicago, and spend the 2014 season in the minor leagues thanks to that final option. The Cubs are rebuilding, and are in a position to take a chance on Bard, especially since he remains under team control until 2016 at the earliest. The Red Sox, competing now and overloaded with current and future 40-man needs, are in no such position -- the 2013 season was about all they could spare on the Fixing Daniel Bard experiment.
If the Cubs -- and the rest of the league -- pass on Bard, he will be removed from the 40-man roster completely and left in the minors to work his way back, without burdening Boston or hindering any of their off-season moves. That kind of low-pressure, starting over environment might be just what he needs, but at this point, it's hard to know just what it is that Bard needs in order to get even a sliver of his old self back on the mound. Maybe a change of scenery and some confidence from old friends is what's been missing.
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