The Cubs announced that they have claimed Daniel Bard off waivers from the Red Sox. To make room for the reliever, outfielder Cole Gillespie has been designated for assignment.
The former top-100 prospect was designated for assignment on Sunday. Bard, 28, emerged as a dominant late-inning reliever in 2010, but didn't respond well when the team attempted to convert him back into a starter in 2012. He's been beset by injuries this season and walked 27 batters in 15 1/3 minor league innings.
Bard will be arbitration eligible for a third time this winter and still has an option remaining. However, because he's only accumulated four days of Major League service time in 2013, he is now controllable through at least the 2016 season instead of the 2015 season, as previously projected. If Bard can rediscover his 2009-11 form, he could be a rare example of a player who is eligible for arbitration five times. In fact, if Bard accumulates fewer than 94 days of service time between now and the end of the 2014 season, the Cubs would gain another year of team control, giving them rights to Bard through the 2017 campaign. In that scenario, Bard would be eligible for arbitration six times. Baseball's collective bargaining agreement states that a player is eligible for arbitration so long as he has between three and six years of Major League service time (or qualifies as a Super Two) and is on a 40-man roster, so theoretically, a player could be eligible an infinite number of times. Of course, all of this assumes that Bard will be tendered a contract for the 2014 season, which is certainly not a guarantee given his 2013 performance.
Gillespie, 29, was claimed off waivers from the Giants in July. In 28 combined big league games this season, the outfielder hit just .203/.294/.237. His Triple-A numbers have been much stronger as he posted a .277/.361/.455 line in 74 games this season.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.