The Boston Red Sox continue to insist that Daniel Bard is going to be a starter, which is the only logical explanation for the team demoting the struggling pitcher to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday, as reported by Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe:
Daniel Bard to AAA. #RedSox— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) June 5, 2012
Before the season started, when it was clear the Red Sox were going to make Bard a starter, everyone was skeptical. He has power stuff, but he didn't have a quality third pitch and never had good command.
Now, with Bard posting an ERA of 5.24 with 37 walks and 34 strikeouts in 55 innings, the Red Sox have taken a valuable bullpen asset and sent him down to the minors.
This whole situation is a waste of everyone's time. Unless the Red Sox plan to transition Bard back to the bullpen by letting him get work in Triple-A to have some success and build his confidence, there is no reason for him to be sent down.
Moving Bard to the rotation was always going to be a risk. The power stuff that he threw out of the bullpen was always going to lose some of its luster, because starters have to preserve their arm to throw 100 pitches every game—they can't go all out on every pitch.
Perhaps there is a bigger issue here that the team felt needed to be worked out at Triple-A. His velocity has been way down—according to FanGraphs, he has lost four miles per hour off his fastball. However, if there is an injury, sending him down isn't going to help anyone.
The big problem is the Red Sox. They thought they could turn Bard into a starter, even though the deck was clearly stacked against him. They have felt the need to prove themselves right by keeping him in that role when it was clear right away he wasn't going to succeed.
Unless the Red Sox are going to put Bard back in the spot where he is best suited to play at the big-league level, sending him down to Triple-A for two weeks is not going to solve anything.