Padres To Non-Tender Bard

According to MLB.com’s Corey Brock, the Padres plan to non-tender catcher Josh Bard this winter.  They’ll use Nick Hundley as the starting catcher in ’09, and may add a veteran backup like Brad Ausmus

Bard is out for the year with a strained triceps.  He hit .202/.279/.270 in 198 plate appearances, also dealing with an ankle injury.  The Padres would’ve had to pay him at least $1.79MM in ’09.  It’s not a bad situation for Bard, though – he’ll reach free agency without putting in six years of service.  He’ll be 30 in March as will join a weak free agent market for catchers.  Small sample size, but in his last healthy season (2007) Bard hit .330/.386/.456 away from PETCO.

With Bard out of the picture, the Padres have $42.4MM committed for ’09 plus arbitration raises to Jody Gerut, Scott Hairston, Heath Bell, and Clay Hensley.  It seems possible the Padres could exercise Brian Giles‘ option and re-sign Trevor Hoffman without going too far past a $50MM payroll.  Giles is included in the $42.4MM figure.


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