September 4, 2013 at 6:00 PM
After being designated for assignment on Sunday, Daniel Bard was claimed this afternoon by the Chicago Cubs. The 28-year-old right-hander has struggled mightily the last two seasons, walking 101 batters in only 107 2/3 innings since the start of 2012. Bard will be reunited with Theo Epstein, Jason McLeod, and Jed Hoyer, all of whom saw Bard turn around his career after a poor 2007 season to become one of the best set-up men in baseball.
While many people point to Bard's failed attempt to become a starting pitcher as the reason for his struggles, there were signs back in September of 2011 that Bard had tough times ahead. In his last nine games of the 2011 season, Bard allowed 13 runs in 8 2/3 innings, surrendering nine hits and nine walks while striking out eight.
It is a sad end to Bard's career in the Red Sox system. The first-round pick in the 2006 draft out of the University of North Carolina, Bard was an excellent set-up man for Jonathan Papelbon, and many people felt that Bard would replace Papelbon as the closer once Papelbon left in free agency. But Bard's career has never gotten back on track, and he will look to turn it around with the Cubs.
Photo Credit: Daniel Bard by Kelly O'Connor
Jim Crowell is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com