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Daniel Bard: Young, Electrifying, Available?

With the Phillies recently agreeing to terms with Jonathan Papelbon, the closer situation in Boston now remains a mystery. With reported interest in the remaining FA closer's, Boston's appears poised to add an established closer to their roster rather than promoting one from within. This news, while appealing to Red Sox fans, is not positive news for Daniel Bard. The man designated as the "closer of the future" in Red Sox nation has been groomed to take over for the imminent departure of  Papelbon since his first call to the big leagues. Now it appears he will continue to hold his post as 8th inning set-up man for the foreseeable future assuming a Bell or a Madson is given a longer term contract. With Bard's ability, he seems to possess all the tools to become a force to be reckoned with in a closer's role. In his 3 years in the Red Sox bullpen Bard's numbers have been strong, especially for a pitcher in his first 3 years of facing big league hitting. His ERA maxed out at 3.65 in 2009 but bottoms at a sparkling 1.93 in 2010, a year where he pitched the most amount of innings in his short career at 74.2 IP. His 2011 output by last season standards may have come as a disappointment to Red Sox fans as Bard's ERA plateaued at 3.33. Accompanied by his strong ERA are Bard's most valuable assets, strikeouts and control. In 2009, he averaged 11.5 K/9 while only averaging 4.0 BB/9 a K/BB ratio of 2.86. His strikeout numbers came back to earth in 09' and 10' plateauing at average of 9.15 K/9 all while maintaining a walk rate under 4.0 BB/9. These numbers accompanied by Bard's 6'4 impounding mound presence make him a candidate to close on any ball club. So where do the Blue Jays come in? IF the Red Sox sign a big name closer, Bard may become frustrated with not being given the opportunity he feels he has deserved . I would imagine that a talented baseball player such as Bard doesn't aspire to become a career set-up man given his talent and ability. Bard perfectly fits the bill as a young, controllable, and effective potential closer that AA has stated he is looking for. His cost would be less than that of Andrew Bailey but the outcome could very much be the same. A young stud who can be consistently depended in the 9th inning and better yet, a Toronto Blue Jay.

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