Red Sox Make The Right Choice, Cut Josh Bard

E ASenior Analyst IMarch 18, 2009

George Kottaras has won the backup catching job for Boston.

Bard's second stint with the Red Sox is over before it began.

In Spring Training, Bard has shown more of what got him traded the first time around: inability to catch Tim Wakefield's knuckleball.

On a side note, George Kottaras has proven to be able to catch the knuckler from Ol' Reliable.

This was such an instrumental part of the audition for backup catcher for the Red Sox, because the knuckleball is such a rare pitch, Wakefield needs his own catcher to handle him. Varitek is too old to be working everyone, and Bard has proved to not be talented enough to work the fifth guy.

The main criteria for Boston's backup catcher is simple: Boston needs a backup catcher who can give Varitek an off day every fifth day so someone with fresher legs and a better mitt can catch for Wakefield

Sorry, Josh Bard, but you don't fit the bill.

Bard has shown decent pop in his bat as well as above-average defensive ability, but that alone wasn't enough to land him the backup catching job for the Red Sox.

Kottaras, who spent 2008 in the Minor Leagues, has started to show some good pop in his bat, blasting 22 homers in 395 at-bats. However, he posted a batting average of .243 and an on-base percentage of .348.

But, Kottaras is still the better catcher than Bard. Not only can Kottaras meet the main criteria of what the Red Sox need in a backup catcher, but he is younger.

Kottaras is going to be 26 in May, while Josh Bard is going to be 31 later this month.

Besides meeting the criteria needed above, Kottaras was kept for another huge reason: he is out of Minor League options. This means that the Red Sox must designate Kottaras for assignment, meaning that Kottaras would have to clear waivers in order to be optioned to the Minor Leagues.

The Red Sox realized that if put on waivers, Kottaras was very likely to be claimed. Due to a better show this spring, and fear of losing him on waivers, Kottaras was kept to be Boston's backup catcher and Bard, recently signed earlier this winter, was cut.