Bard, Byrd and the Bullpen

Bullpen Phone at Fenway Park

Image by Eric F Savage

Given recent events it could be assumed that Daniel Bard’s place in the rotation is about as secure as Derek Lowe’s Fort Myers home. After last night’s rainout Bard has been temporarily moved into the bullpen and Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine has said he would be used in the 8th inning tonight – if the Sox have a lead. If Bard was to remain in the bullpen (which is not the plan according to Bobby V) it would likely be Aaron Cook that gets the call and while Cook is performing well in the minors he only has 2 previous seasons, in his 10 year career, where his ERA was under 4 and the last one was in 2008.

It’s clear the Boston bullpen is in some trouble with Bailey landing on the DL, Melancon not living up to expectations and Aceves seemingly overwhelmed in the closer role. However, I don’t think moving Bard back into the ‘pen is the right move. It does seem to have been discussed but if Bard can put together a good season in the rotation (and nothing so far suggests he won’t) he is much more valuable as a starter than he is as a closer.

The worst thing the Sox can do is to flip him back and forth; we saw what happened in the Bronx when the Yankees couldn’t decide what to do with Joba Chamberlain. Cherington should stick with the choice he made and stop trading away useful bullpen arms for aging, replacement level, injury stand-ins. A Byrd in the hand isn’t worth an arm from the bullpen.