Why Daniel Bard Should Be a Starter for the Boston Red Sox
But last season in September, Bard posted an ERA of over 10 with multiple blown saves, proving that he may not be ready to take on the role of closer.
One thing the Red Sox could do with Bard, though, is convert him into a starter. It is a much bigger need for the Sox as the starting pitching market is much bleaker than the closer market.
Starting Pitching Market Isn't Deep
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With John Lackey out for the season after getting Tommy John surgery and Daisuke Matsuzaka already on the shelf with the same ailment, the Boston Red Sox are in dire need of starting pitching.
Other than C.J. Wilson and Mark Buerhle, there aren't many proven starting pitchers out there in free agency.
Although the Sox do need a closer, a role Bard could fill, there are many more options on the market to fill that spot on the roster such as Francisco Cordero, Houston Street and Francisco Rodriguez to name a few.
Starting pitching is a much bigger need and converting Bard into a starter would not be a bad move.
He's Done It Before
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If the Boston Red Sox in fact do convert Bard to a starter, it would not be the first time he has started a game.
While at the University of North Carolina, Bard was a very successful starter alongside fellow teammate Andrew Miller.
In his senior season as a Tar Heel, Bard started 17 games. He compiled a record of 9-4 in those 17 starts with an ERA of 3.64 with two complete games and one shutout.
He Has the Stuff
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Daniel Bard has the makeup to be a great starting pitcher.
Not only does he have his 100 mph four-seam fastball but Bard also has two plus-pitchers to go along with it.
His devastating slider in the high 80s to mid-90s and very good changeup give him enough pitches to keep hitters off balance.
They say most relief pitchers are in the bullpen because they don't have enough good pitchers to start—well Bard does have the stuff and it is time for him to become a starter.
Much More Valuable as a Starter
While pitching in the bullpen, the Boston Red Sox get about 70 to 90 innings a season out of Daniel Bard.
Being one of the team's best pitchers, it would be wise for the Red Sox to get as many innings out of Bard as they can.
How can they do that?
Make him a starter.
As a starting pitcher, Bard would be able to give the Red Sox around 200 innings once he is completely stretched out in a couple of seasons but even before that he'd contribute 140-plus innings, a lot more than the 70 to 90 he contributes as a reliever.
Unproven as a Closer
Many people will question if Daniel Bard will be able to transition to being a starter, but his transition to being an MLB closer is just as uncertain.
During the team's collapse, Bard posted a 10-plus ERA with multiple blown saves and has yet to prove he can take on the role of closer.
There is a lot more pressure coming in as a closer than as a setup man and it is uncertain as to if Bard is ready to make that jump. Yet he proved he could be a successful starter in college, so why not give him a shot now?