Josh Bard Rumors


Dodgers Notes: Hunter, Ryu, Bard, Kuroda

The latest on the Dodgers, who are in the midst of their first offseason under new ownership...

  • The Dodgers are out on Torii Hunter, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. The Braves, Rangers and Tigers all still have interest in Hunter, who appears to prefer an AL team.
  • GM Ned Colletti told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Dodgers are prioritizing the international market again under the team’s new ownership. “One area we really needed to accent immediately was international operations,” Colletti said. “We couldn’t wait another year to get involved there.” The Dodgers recently won the negotiating rights to Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu with a bid of $25.7MM. 
  • The Dodgers announced that they signed six international scouts, including Patrick Guerrero. The team also announced that they hired former MLB catcher Josh Bard as a special assistant.
  • Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wonders which top free agent will sign next. Zack Greinke and Hiroki Kuroda seem like candidates to sign in the relatively near future, according to Davidoff, who believes that the Dodgers will bring Kuroda back to Los Angeles.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.



Minor Moves: Bard, Sullivan, Pearce, Michaels

Here are the latest minor moves from around MLB...

  • The Dodgers released Cory Sullivan and catcher Josh Bard, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.  The pair both signed minor league deals with L.A. in December.
  • The Yankees have signed Steve Pearce to a minor league contract, reports Josh Norris of the Trentonian (Twitter link).  Pearce, a former well-regarded prospect with the Pirates, signed a minor league deal with the Twins in December but was released on Tuesday.
  • The Nationals released outfielder Jason Michaels, the team announced. The Nationals signed the 11-year veteran to a minor league contract in December.
  • The Brewers signed catcher Jason Jaramillo to a minor league deal, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. The Cubs released the backstop a couple of days ago after signing him to a minor league deal in January.
  • The Red Sox released catcher Max St. Pierre, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (on Twitter). SoxProspects.com first reported the transaction.
  • The Brewers released Corey Patterson then re-signed him to another minor league contract, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). Patterson, who signed a minor league deal with Milwaukee in January, will start the season at Triple-A.
  • The Indians announced that they acquired right-hander Jairo Asencio from the Braves for cash. The right-handed reliever led the International League in saves in 2009 and 2011 and posted a 1.81 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 54 2/3 innings at Triple-A last year. Asencio is out of options.
  • The Mets have signed infielder Josh Rodriguez to a minor league deal, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. The Pirates selected the 27-year-old in last year's Rule 5 draft, returned him to the Indians in April, and traded for him in June. Rodriguez, who played in seven MLB games last year, posted a .258/.323/.349 line in 330 plate appearances in the upper minors.



Dodgers Sign Bard, Ledezma, Castillo, Guzman, More

The Dodgers announced the signing of 15 non-roster players yesterday, reported MLB.com's Ken Gurnick: catcher Josh Bard, lefty reliever Wil Ledezma, lefty reliever Alberto Castillo, righty reliever Angel Guzman, outfielder Cory Sullivan, righty reliever Fernando Nieve, righty reliever Jose Ascanio, righty Ryan Tucker, righty Will Savage, lefty Matt Chico, lefty Scott Rice, corner infielder Jeff Baisley, infielder Lance Zawadzki, and infielder Luis Cruz.

Bard, 33, had 86 plate appearances for the Mariners this year and another 250 in Triple-A.  His signing was first rumored last week at the Winter Meetings.  Ledezma, 30, briefly appeared in the Majors with Toronto this year.  He struck out 64 batters in 48 Triple-A innings as well.  Castillo, a 36-year-old Cuban, tossed 11 2/3 innings for the Diamondbacks and a strong 42 1/3 frames at Triple-A.  His near-deal was first reported last week.

Ascanio, 26, appeared briefly in the bigs with the Pirates this year and also whiffed 50 in 44 Triple-A innings.  He was part of the July '09 John Grabow-Tom Gorzelanny trade with the Cubs, but he had labrum surgery in October of that year.  Tucker, 25, is a former first-round pick of the Marlins who pitched five innings with the Rangers this year and 68 1/3 more in Triple-A.  Guzman, Sullivan, Nieve, Chico, Baisley, Zawadzki, and Cruz have also spent time in the Majors.  Guzman, notably, was a successful setup man for the Cubs in '09.



Dodgers To Sign Josh Bard?

11:39pm: The Dodgers are still talking to other catchers and the Bard deal is "not a slam dunk," says Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter).

10:43pm: The Dodgers have agreed to sign Josh Bard to a one-year deal worth about $750K, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times hears that it's a minor league contract (Twitter link).

Bard, 33, has a career OPS of .705 in parts of ten big league seasons, but his production has slipped in recent years. Since 2008, he has hit .217/.282/.332 in 711 plate appearances. He spent the last two seasons as the backup catcher in Seattle on one-year deals.

The Dodgers have been very active on the free agent market this offseason, as MLBTR's free agent tracker shows. The team has already signed six big league free agents, including another catcher, Matt Treanor, who inked a one-year deal with a 2013 option.



Mariners Notes: Olivo, Kennedy, Bard

Here are the contract details on three of the newest Mariners, courtesy of MLB.com's Greg Johns..

  • Catcher Miguel Olivo's two year contract includes a team option for 2013.  The veteran will make $2.75 this season, $3.5MM in 2012, and will receive a $750K buyout if his option is not picked up, bringing his guaranteed total to $7MM.  If the M's pick up his option in '13, Olivo will earn a base of $3MM that could rise to as much as $3.75MM based on how much he plays in '11 and '12.
  • Infielder Adam Kennedy will make $750K if he makes the big league roster.  The 35-year-old's contract includes playing-time bonuses that start kicking in at $50K for 350 plate appearances.  He could as much as $450K if he reaches 600 plate appearances.
  • Catcher Josh Bard will also earn $750K if he makes the major league squad.  Bard's bonuses begin at 300 plate appearances and could reach $250K for 500 plate appearances.
  • Both Bard and Kennedy can exercise an out clause if they're not on the major league roster by the end of March.



Mariners Re-Sign Josh Bard

The Mariners have re-signed catcher Josh Bard, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. MLB.com's Greg Johns says it's a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, and that Bard will compete with Adam Moore for the backup catcher job (Twitter links).

The 32-year-old hit .214/.276/.357 in 126 plate appearances with Seattle in 2010, though he did throw out six of 18 would-be base stealers. He also missed some time with a calf strain. Bard is a .256/.323/.387 career hitter, but the last three years haven't been pretty: .218/.285/.332 in 625 plate appearances split between the M's, Nationals, and Padres. 



Epstein On Injuries, Bullpen, Wood

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein appeared on WEEI's Dale & Holley radio show on Thursday morning to recap and discuss Boston's 2010 season.  WEEI.com's Jerry Spar and ESPNBoston.com both have partial transcripts of the interview, and here are some of the hot stove highlights...

  • In part due to the multitude of injuries that befell the club, Epstein admitted that the team's pitching and defense (the offseason focus on which led to the signings of John Lackey and Mike Cameron) were actually Boston's biggest weaknesses in 2010.
  • The Red Sox will "have to completely fix the bullpen" in the winter.  Epstein said that he pursued several midseason trades for relievers: "We were aggressive with our prospect proposals, and those guys weren’t moved. So, yeah, I would have loved to have made a trade for a reliever. I feel bad, I feel like we didn’t get it done."
  • In regards to three specific bullpen targets (Matt Capps, Brian Fuentes and Kerry Wood), Epstein said that Washington wanted Daniel Bard for Capps, the Twins were able to make a move for Fuentes first due to a higher waiver position, and the Yankees "were willing to take on just a little bit more of [Wood's] salary."
  • Epstein admitted that the team can improve the flow of communication between the medical staff and the players.  He didn't comment on whether or not the Red Sox were looking to make some changes to their training staff in the wake of their injury-filled season.



Eliezer Alfonzo Clears Waivers

WEDNESDAY: Alfonzo cleared waivers and accepted his Triple A assignment, according to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times (Twitter links). 

TUESDAY: The Mariners will designate Eliezer Alfonzo for assignment to create roster space for Josh Bard, according to Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune (via Twitter). Alfonzo, 31, did not hit well in 41 plate appearances this year, striking out ten times and collecting two extra base hits without drawing a walk. To his credit, he threw out two of the four runners who attempted to steal on him.

Bard was hitting well in limited major league playing time before a calf injury sent him to the disabled list at the end of May. The 32-year-old has a .718 OPS in his nine-year MLB career. Rob Johnson, who is hitting just .198, has been doing most of the catching for the Mariners, who hoped for more production from Adam Moore going into the season. However, the young backstop has been sidelined with heel and hamstring injuries.



Mariners Sign Josh Bard, Chad Cordero

The Mariners signed catcher Josh Bard and reliever Chad Cordero to minor league deals, according to a team press release.

Bard, 32 in March, hit .230/.293/.361 in 301 plate appearances for the Nationals this year, catching 630.6 innings.  He battled a groin strain at times.  Bard has flashed the ability to draw a walk in years past.  Since Kenji Johjima left for Japan, the Mariners have an opportunity for a veteran catcher.  Bard had also drawn interest from the Rockies.

Cordero, 28 in March, is attempting to recover from July '08 labrum surgery.  He tossed 14.3 innings in the minors for the Ms this year after signing in March.



Nationals Content With Catching Depth

It was revealed Tuesday night that Nationals catcher Jesus Flores will miss at least three months, and possibly the entire season, with a stress fracture in his right shoulder.  It's terrible news for a Nationals team that has dealt with far too many negatives this season, but, as Zach Berman of the Washington Post writes, don't expect acting GM Mike Rizzo to bring in a catcher from outside the organization. 

"Rizzo pledged confidence in the current tandem of Wil Nieves and Josh Bard," writes Berman.  "Plus, Flores remains the Nationals' long-term catcher, and it would not be worth sacrificing a prospect for a stopgap during a season that has already gone awry."

Nieves is batting .281/.324/.328 this season with three doubles and eight RBI in 64 at-bats. He'll see the majority of starts, with Bard playing the backup role.









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