Josh Bard Rumors

Nationals Overhaul Bullpen

According to Chico Harlan, the Nationals have made some major changes to their 25-man roster. Here's a quick synopsis of the moves:

  • Josh Bard: Optioned to AAA-Syracuse
  • Saul Rivera: Optioned to AAA-Syracuse
  • Wil Ledezma: Designated for assignment
  • Steven Shell: Designated for assignment

The quartet was replaced by pitchers Jordan Zimmermann, Garrett Mock, Jason Bergmann, and veteran Kip Wells.

Following today's loss to the Marlins, which completed the second three-game sweep of the Nationals this season for the Fish already in 2009, Manny Acta was not shy about the bullpen:

I think it's embarrassing. I think it's unacceptable. I think our fans have every right to be mad, like we are right now. And it's not going to be tolerated. We're going to have a brand new bullpen tomorrow… We had a chance to win three games in a row, we couldn't do it, and it's not going to be tolerated… Plenty of moves, and more to come.

Nationals Sign Josh Bard

10:04pm: Jack Etkin at Inside The Rockies has some details on the Bard signing. He writes that the Red Sox "decided to keep George Kottaras, 25, who was out of options" as a back up for Jason Varitek. Etkin continues:

"By releasing Bard on Wednesday, the deadline for paying  a player 30 days termination pay, the Red Sox owed him about $279,000. Had they waited one more day to release him, they would have owed Bard 45 days termination pay or about $418,000."

7:42pm: Chico Harlan of the Washington Post writes that Bard will join what Nationals GM Mike Rizzo calls "a competitive situation." Bard will battle Wil Nieves and Javier Valentin for the backup catcher spot.

2:26pm: According to's Bill Ladson, the Nationals signed catcher Josh Bard to a minor league deal.  Bard had been signed but then released by the Red Sox.

Bard, 31 in March, had a couple of pretty solid seasons for the Padres in 2006 and 2007.  He dealt with ankle and elbow injuries last year.  It's a nice signing for the Nationals.

Giants Seek Catcher, Reliever

According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News:

Scouts are buzzing that the Giants are actively looking to upgrade at backup catcher and long relief. One possibility is catcher Rob Bowen, whom the A's released Tuesday.

Baggarly suggests the Giants' trade chips include pitchers Luis Perdomo and Merkin Valdez, as well as outfielder Eugenio Velez.

A handful of catchers remain on the free agent market, including new member Josh BardTracy Ringolsby wonders if the Rockies will renew their interest in Bard.  The Marlins, however, don't appear interested according to's Joe Frisaro.  The free agent market also features about a dozen relievers.

Red Sox Release Josh Bard

According to the Boston Herald's Michael Silverman, the Red Sox have parted ways with catcher Josh Bard.

It appears that 25-year-old George Kottaras has won the backup catching job.  It probably had something to do with his ability, and Bard's inability, to catch Tim Wakefield's knuckleball.  Kottaras is also out of minor league options and the Red Sox didn't want to risk losing him.

Bard, 30, was 6-for-14 this spring with one home run, five RBI and two doubles.  He finished with a line of .202/.279/.270 in 178 at-bats last season.

Red Sox Catching: Bard, Montero, Kottaras

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe has a wrap-up of the Red Sox’ catching situation heading into the beginning of the 2009 season.

Even after signing Jason Varitek, the Red Sox were rumored to have been continuing their pursuit of a trade for a young catcher. In today’s article, Massarotti writes that at the beginning of Diamondbacks camp, Miguel Montero was informed that "no deals were imminent." Instead, it appears the Red Sox will stick with Josh Bard for now.

However, Massarotti also mentions another interesting in-house option for the Red Sox in George Kottaras. Massarotti summarizes Kottaras’ situation:

Kottaras is out of options and could be a threat to beat out Bard, though the more likely scenario is that the Red Sox are trying to increase Kottaras’ trade value so that they do not simply lose him on waivers.

It’s probably going to be ‘Tek and Bard on Opening Day. We’ll see if the Red Sox end up acquiring, or even trading away, any young catchers in the meantime.

Odds and Ends: Bard, Cubs, Guardado

Links for Friday (feels like a Monday)…

Details On The Bard Signing

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe confirms that catcher Josh Bard signed with the Red Sox for $1.7MM.  He says there’s another $800K or so in incentives, though most of the contract is non-guaranteed.  Massarotti adds that the signing "in no way eliminates the chance of Jason Varitek returning to the club in 2009."  We still haven’t heard a clear suitor for Varitek, who’ll cost a draft pick to sign.

Red Sox Reach Deals With Bard, Penny

9:59pm: Ian Browne of weighs in on Bard. He discusses the catching situation, and in particular, how the Red Sox will use Bard if free-agent Jason Varitek returns to the franchise. points out Penny’s Interleague numbers: 7-11 with a 5.08 ERA in 24 appearances against American League opponents. Penny has spent his entire career in the National League.

8:41pm: Rob Bradford of spoke with Brad Penny, who confirmed his deal with the Boston Red Sox.

From Bradford:

“There were a lot of teams involved,” said Penny in a phone conversation. “But I wanted to go somewhere where I knew we had a great chance at winning, and Boston is that place.”

Bradford adds that Penny will be in Boston on Jan. 7 to take his physical and will begin his throwing program next week.

Bradford also updates the status of Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, who has started exercises on his throwing shoulder, which is earlier than in years past. Bradford’s post states that the injury that plagued Beckett at the end of the 2008 season has subsided. The injury centered around the intercostal muscles near the ribs and not the oblique as previously thought.

7:33pm: Free-agent catcher Josh Bard has reached a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox, Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald and Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe are reporting.

The Bard agreement is a nonguaranteed major-league deal worth $1.6MM. According to McAdam, Bard is viewed as a backup, but he could see more time depending upon what Boston decides to do at catcher.

Bard, 31 in March, spent seven games with the Red Sox in 2006 before Boston traded him to the Padres. He hit .202 in 57 games with San Diego in 2008.

McAdam has more on the Brad Penny deal, too. The agreement, a one-year deal with a base salary of $5MM, will be finalized Monday. Incentives and performance bonuses can increase the total deal another $3MM if Penny pitches more than 160 innings, McAdam reports.

Penny, 31 in May, went 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA in 17 starts and two relief appearances in 2008 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The right-hander played 4.5 seasons for the Dodgers. He played with the Florida Marlins from 2000 until he was traded in 2004.

With the addition of Penny, the Boston rotation now consists of Penny, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester.

The move also allows righty Justin Masterson to remain in a setup role for closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Odds and Ends: Rule 5, Beltre, Schmidt, Bako

Stray links I’ve collected over the past few days…

Red Sox Rumors: Payton, Taguchi, Bard, Paulino

Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald has a few new Red Sox rumors:

  • The Sox are not interested in Jay Payton or any Craig Landis client (he also reps Jon Garland).  They’re also not in on So Taguchi.
  • Josh Bard could be a Plan B or C at catcher.  Ronny Paulino has also been discussed.