Tag:Daniel Bard
Posted on: August 22, 2011 9:35 am

Pepper: Pirates send small message with Tabata

By Matt Snyder

The Pirates announced Sunday that they agreed to terms with outfielder Jose Tabata. He'll be paid $14 million over the next six seasons, with options that could keep Tabata in Pittsburgh through 2019 (Associated Press). The deal buys out the remaining three years of arbitration, but that's not the important part -- which is that the Pirates made a long-term commitment to a young player.

Tabata, 23, has a .356 on-base percentage with 15 stolen bases and 44 runs this year in 75 games, serving mostly as the leadoff man.

He is certainly no Andrew McCutchen and he's been signed for a pretty cheap deal, but the signal is the same as it was when the Pirates were buyers at the trade deadline: These Pirates aren't a laughing matter anymore. No longer is ownership content to simply be a virtual Triple-A team, developing players only to have them traded or leave via free agency. When they lock up McCutchen, which I fully expect, the signal will be even louder. Granted, the Pirates will never be a large-market spender, but the increased attendance this season shows the fans are still there, should the team become a legitimate contender. Expect the Tabata deal to be the first of several.

Strasburg Watch: Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg will make his fourth rehab start Monday. He'll pitch for Class-A Hagerstown again, where he was shelled last time out. He was dominant in his first two outings, however, so Monday will be a good gauge to see if that was simply an off-day. He's going to be working toward four innings and 65 pitches (Nationals Journal). That's a huge sign, because from 65 pitches, a lot of pitchers jump to 80 next time. Presumably, 80 pitches is enough to get back to the bigs. Strasburg is scheduled to have a fifth rehab start August 27, but if everything goes well in these next two outings, that's likely all he'll need before joining the Nats.

Joe on A.J.: Yankees manager Joe Girardi and struggling starting pitcher A.J. Burnett appeared to exchange some pretty heated words Saturday night, but both Girardi and Burnett said the issue was Burnett's anger at the home plate umpire. Girardi reiterated that sentiment Sunday, but also noted Burnett is on shaky ground due to his pitching performance. "The reality is he needs to pitch better," Girardi said (New York Times baseball blog).

Pronk injured: Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner broke an 0-for-16 slump with a single late in Sunday's game, but when he rounded first base, he pulled up lame and limped his way to getting tagged out and back to the dugout. He has a right foot strain, which is a similar injury to one that kept him out for five games earlier in the season (MLB.com).

Time for revenge: It's been a while since the Rangers and Red Sox played. In fact, it was the first series of the season. Many of us may have forgotten the Rangers kicked the Red Sox teeth in for three games, sweeping them and outscoring them 26-11 in three games. It's the only team the Red Sox have played this season and not beaten. Reliever Daniel Bard certainly hasn't forgotten, though, as he said "we owe them something for the first series of the year," Sunday (BostonHerald.com). The two teams square off for a four-game series in Texas, beginning Monday.

Winded Grandyman: Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson hit an inside-the-park home run at Minnesota Sunday, and he was a bit tired after the trip around the bases. “It was good until everyone wanted to talk,” Granderson said (LoHud). ” As we’re coming in, everyone was asking about it, and I couldn’t really talk too much.”

Action Jackson: Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson ended Sunday's game by throwing out the would-be tying run at home plate. A game-ending double play scored 8-2 hasn't happened since 1988 when Pirates center fielder Andy Van Slyke pulled it off, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Swarzak in, Blackburn out: Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn injured his right forearm early in his start against the Yankees Sunday, and it looks like he's headed for the disabled list, as the Twins have already named a replacement in the rotation. Anthony Swarzak will get the spot (Around the Majors). Swarzak is 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in five starts this season.

Love for Hendry: Recently-fired Cubs (former) general manager Jim Hendry has been beaten down pretty good in terms of fans, message boards, Twitter, etc. But you rarely hear anything bad about him as a person from his own players, media who know him personally or even opposing players. Former Cubs shorstop Ryan Theriot -- who Hendry traded last season -- joins in, calling Hendry a good person who has a good heart (Chicago Tribune).

Leyland tossed again: Tigers manager Jim Leyland had a pretty nice ejection Sunday, marking the fifth time in the past two months he's been run. The Detroit Free-Press has a list of the five ejections.

On this date: Mark McGwire made his big-league debut 25 years ago today. (Hardball Times)

Oh, Nails: Former Phillies and Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra is currently serving time in prison because he filed for bankruptcy and then tried to sell off part of his estate for profit -- which is otherwise known as embezzlement -- and was also accused of lying under oath and trying to hide some of his assets from the bankruptcy court. Apparently, however, Lenny doesn't believe the law applies to him because he was good in the 1993 World Series. Seriously: Read his post by clicking here and let me know if I'm wrong, but I believe that's kind of his argument -- warning, the post has the grammar and spelling of an eight year old. The best part is that Dykstra is delusional enough to believe he's been targeted by a government that wants to redeem itself for the O.J. Simpson case by nailing a celebrity. I mean, you can't make this stuff up. It's amazing.

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Posted on: May 29, 2011 11:47 am

Bard's friend found

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Daniel BardThe friend of Red Sox setup man Daniel Bard who had been reported missing, has been found.

Matt Hill, 26, was found in good health, according to Washington D.C. police. Although Bard and others suspected foul play, Hill reportedly "left on his own will."

So, there's that.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 28, 2011 10:57 pm

Bard seeks help in locating missing friend

By Matt Snyder

Red Sox setup man Daniel Bard is dealing with an off-field issue right now and he's seeking a little help from anyone who can offer it.

Matt Hill, a childhood friend of Bard's, has gone missing. Hill, 26, grew up with Bard in North Carolina and was one of his groomsmen. Hill was last seen in the Washington D.C. area Tuesday morning. He was mentoring a student at George Washington University as part of a campus outreach ministry program.

Bard said he first became worried when a mutual friend called and asked Bard if Hill might have come to Boston to hang out with Bard for the week. Only it was Thursday morning and the Red Sox were in Detroit.

Bard has been asking fellow major leaguers and all reporters to tweet and retweet information about his friend with hopes that someone will find something to help police in their search. There's a Facebook page, too.

Bard definitely suspects foul play.

"He was one of the most positive, outgoing, happy people I've ever met,'' Bard said. "I'm not just saying that. I think anyone who met him would say that. He loves his job, loves the people he works with. He's not married. There's nothing tying him down, nothing to run from. So that's why this all seems so strange.''

"He's a clean-cut guy," Bard continued (ESPN Boston). "He's never done a drug in his life, so we're 99 percent sure that something external was involved.''

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 18, 2011 10:11 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:02 am

Pepper: Sizemore to continue leading off


By Evan Brunell

UP TOP: Grady Sizemore will remain at the top of the order and lead off for the Indians now that he's finally back from injury. To hear manager Manny Acta tell it, it was never a consideration to stick Sizemore into the middle of the order.

"We talked to him about it in spring training. He's leading off, because we have Carlos Santana in the lineup," Acta said. "If he had to hit second, third or fourth, he's not the kind of guy who's going to pout. He's a coach's dream. He'll do whatever you want him to do."

Sizemore's return is much welcome for a surging 11-4 Indians club who now have a potential elite bat back in the lineup, although he won't play all 148 remaining games. The Indians plan to be cautious with Sizemore and will rest him fairly regularly in the early going which will open up the leadoff spot for new left-fielder Michael Brantley.

Although Sizemore has had a pair of 100-RBI seasons (and runs scored), Santana's presence allows Acta to lead Sizemore off and increase the chances the club can get something going at the top of the order instead of batting Sizemore and Santana back-to-back  in the 3-4 spots. One other consideration could have Sizemore batting second and Brantley leading off, but it appears as if Acta is completely committed to leading Sizemore off. It's certainly a better idea than knocking Sizemore or Santana down to cleanup, but long-term, the team may benefit batting Sizemore second. Until Brantley proves himself with a modicum of long-term success, however, Sizemore is the man leading off. (Akron Beacon Journal)

BASEBALL TODAY: Can the Rockies keep up their hot start all season long? Will the Dodgers be a player in the National League West? Troy Renck of the Denver Post joins Lauren Shehadi with the latest.

FINALLY, SUCCESS: It's been a good start to the year for Alex Gordon, who is already considered a bust this early into his career. But as he says, regular playing time at one position is the whole reason why he's hitting .365/.394/.540 in 66 plate appearances, leading the AL with 14 runs scored. It's still very early, but it's great to see Gordon get off to a hot start and revitalize his career. (Kansas City Star)

BLUE OX: The Twins have made some of the most creative commercials the last few years and the newest installment is no exception. Jim Thome dons his cap to Paul Bunyan by doing a skit with a blue ox and sporting a double-breasted flannel shirt with his name and number on the back. The best part of the commercial, though, is Michael Cuddyer's spit take. (Big League Stew)

NO, REALLY, I LIKE IT: New BoSox outfielder Carl Crawford is keeping a season diary and in it, speaks to his early struggles and the fact that he actually likes to lead off, contrary to reports.

"It's actually fun to bat leadoff," he says. "I get to do everything I like to do on a baseball field. I get to be exciting and run and set the table. There's nothing wrong with batting leadoff at all. People that say I hate batting leadoff don't know me that well." (ESPN Boston)

BARD'S THE MAN: Skipper Terry Francona has made no secret of the fact that Daniel Bard is his go-to guy in the bullpen and loves being able to deploy him at any time instead of having to use strict guidelines as he has to do for the closer's spot. All the more reason why closers in this day and age are overrated. Bard entered Sunday's game against Toronto at a pivotal point in the seventh inning with two men on and calmly engineered a double play and strikeout. (Providence Journal)

SETBACK: Bryan Stow, the Giants fan severely beat by two scumbags who happen to root for the Dodgers, was placed back into a medically-induced coma as he suffered seizures when doctors tried to draw him out. There's still no timetable for recovery or knowledge how much brain damage, if any, Stow suffered. (FOX Sports)

COLON'S BACK: When we last saw Bartolo Colon, he appeared to have pitched (and eaten) his way out of baseball in 2009. Except now the newly pinstriped reliever will return to the rotation and start Wednesday. (MLB.com)

DOMINATION: Colon will have to keep an eye on Kevin Millwood, another veteran pitcher the Yankees picked up on a lark. Despite poor reviews of his preseason work, Millwood flat out dominated Double-A hitters on Sunday, tossing a one-hitter in a seven-inning complete game. Millwood can opt out of his deal on May 1 if he's not called up to the majors. If his outing is any indication, he won't have any trouble finding a job. (MiLB.com)

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: In the second game of the doubleheader Sunday, Jayson Werth sat out his first game as a National due to "aches and pains." With 14 games under his belt, Werth will return to the lineup on Tuesday. With the move, Rick Ankiel is now the only player to have started every game for Washington. (Washington Post)

WRIGHT IS RIGHT: It's tough to imagine Jamey Wright still pitching effectively as he personifies the average journeyman bouncing around from team to team to fill in. Yet, the 36-year-old has actually cobbled together a nice string of seasons as reliever and impressed in his two-inning stint for the M's Sunday. Wright appears to be Seattle's most trusted reliever outside of closer. (Seattle Times)

TAX-FREE: When an Astros fan won 315 coupons to net a free cup of coffee and/or a doughnut or a dozen doughnut holes, he had no idea that he would be issued a Form 1099 that would strip him of $237 worth in tax refunds. The Astros refused to pay the difference, but Shipley's Do'Nuts agreed to make up the balance. The Astros also got back into the fan's good graces by giving him four tickets to opening day as well as a Jeff Bagwell signed baseball. (Houston Chronicle)

STREAK SNAPPED: In what is believed to be the longest streak in college baseball but unverifiable, Kansas State's Nick Martini went 0 for 5 on Sunday to snap his streak of 93 straight games reaching base. He registered a hit in 76 of these games. (Washington Post)

LEFTY MOVES: The Blue Jays are trading left-handed pitcher David Purcey to Oakland for reliever Danny Farquhar. Farquhar is an ex-Blue Jay, having been shipped west in the Rajai Davis deal during the winter. (FOX Sports) Meanwhile, the Red Sox optioned lefty Felix Doubront to the minors and welcomed back Hideki Okajima, who will take another crack at this whole relieving business.

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Posted on: April 2, 2011 12:48 am
Edited on: April 22, 2011 11:28 pm

3 up, 3 down for 4/1: A NL Central save, finally

By Evan Brunell

QuentinAhh, day two of baseball. SI.com's Joe Posnanski has a nice story up about Day 2 in baseball, and that's what we're about to look at.

3 UP

Joel Hanrahan, Pirates -- John Axford and Ryan Franklin couldn't handle the heat Thursday. Brandon Lyon fell victim earlier in the day. That left it to the Pirates closer in Hanrahan to settle matters. After an inning in which he made things interesting by allowing a hit and walk to the Cubs, while also whiffing two batters, Hanrahan walked away with the NL Central's first save.

Carlos Quentin, White Sox -- Quentin lit up Cleveland on Friday, even more so than Adam Dunn despite the newcome's two-run homer and double. Quentin drove home five with an RBI single in the first, two-run blast in the third and a two-run double in the fourth. Q is capable of hitting 40 home runs and this could be the year he puts it all together after following up a huge 2008 with an injury-riddled 2009 and a solid bounceback in 2010.

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays -- There's been plenty of talk about Bautista, especially given the shiny new contract he received as a present for hitting 54 home runs in 2010. Many either consider his season a fluke or one that will regress a lot as even 30 home runs would represent a 24-home run dropoff. However, Bautista rang in the new year in style, knocking a home run as part of a 3-for-4 night with three runs scored.


Fausto Carmona, Indians -- Here's a nice, shiny 30.00 ERA for you, Fausto Carmona! The Indians ace coughed up 10 runs in three innings, allowing 11 hits, one walk and pumping out three strikeouts. Carmona just didn't have any part of it today against the White Sox. He's still a solid pitcher who will be in demand at the trade deadline, so don't read too much into this.

Ivan DeJesus, Dodgers -- Going 0 for 3 is not a good way to get into the good graces over in Dodgerland. DeJesus drew the start at second base thanks to both Casey Blake and Juan Uribe being out of the lineup, and utility infielder Jamey Carroll opening the game on the bench. The freshly-minted backup infielder whiffed all three times at the plate while oddly starting in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. DeJesus would later be double-switched out for Carroll in the seventh in an act of mercy.

Daniel Bard, Red Sox -- Bad day for Daniel Bard, who started the eighth inning with Boston having just tied the game at 5-5. Bard, who is the heir apparent at closer and clearly the best reliever in the bullpen, instead gave up four runs on four hits in just 2/3s of an inning, drawing the loss. Absolutely nothing was going right, including David Murphy's ball that just barely kissed the chalk for a two-run double. Bard said himself the pitch was executed the way he wanted. So yeah, bad day.

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Posted on: March 22, 2011 10:26 am
Edited on: March 22, 2011 11:16 am

Pepper: After death of child, Cordero persevering


By Evan Brunell

WORST NIGHTMARE: After midnight the morning of Dec. 4, former Nationals closer Chad Cordero got the worst news one could get: his three-month old daughter was dead from SIDS, otherwise known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Cordero was once one of the best closers in the game, saving 47 games for the inaugural season of the Washington Nationals after coming up with the Mariners. Cordero's been a non-entity for years now, struggling with injuries amid stints with the Mariners and Mets. He is now in camp with the Blue Jays, but first had to go through a horrific experience. His daughter, Teyta, was staying with his grandparents and was put to bed to sleep, but was checked on regularly. The last checkup came around midnight before Cordero's mother, Patti, discovered Teyta had passed at 12:45 a.m.

It was, like, so hard -- for weeks," wife Jamie Cordero said. "Like you didn’t want to go to sleep, because you just felt that much further away from her, like it really happened. But looking back right now, I’m just glad those first few weeks are over, because it’s just like hell."

Cordero is slated to appear in his first major-league game on Tuesday and will do so with Teyta near him, as he had her face tattooed on his left forearm. It's not clear how realistic a shot Cordero has at the big-league roster, but there's one person in Toronto who believes in him.

"If there was anybody who would fight back, it would be him," Toronto scouting director Dana Brown said, who drafted Cordero when with Montreal. (Washington Post)

STAKE IN METS TO DEPEND ON MONEY: The reports of the Mets selling 20-25 percent of the club are technically not true. While that could end up being the percentage of the team sold, the goal for the Wilpons is to sell whatever share meshes with a specific amount the team is looking for. While this amount would be nowhere near what's needed to gain majority control, it does mean that the new owner could own as much as a third of the company, if not more. It will all come down to what the Mets are valued at. (New York Daily News)

WHO WILL START? The Brewers are having trouble finding a solution to replace Zack Greinke, but the team continues to insist that it will fill the spot internally, with Marco Estrada the latest candidate who will draw the start Tuesday. The club is keeping an eye on the open market, though, and while they won't bring in someone making significant dollars, there will be some intriguing names that could be available. If the Cubs release Carlos Silva, he could head to Milwaukee. The same goes for the Yankees and Freddy Garcia, who may have lost the No. 5 spot to Bartolo Colon. (MLB.com)

UPTON GLAD FOR SUPPORT: B.J. Upton wasn't really paying attention to racial remarks an Orioles fan yelled out during a spring-training game Sunday, but manager Joe Maddon certainly was -- and so were other members of the team who spoke up. Upton, for his part, says he hears these type of  comments constantly. "There's 30, 40,000 people in the stands; you're bound to hear it. It's 2011, you know what I mean, but it is what it is. Freedom of speech, I guess." (Tampa Tribune)

THE BEST WEAPON: Manager Terry Francona doesn't have any interest in returning to a closer by committee, which Boston tried the year before Tito arrived. However, he clearly recognizes the value of having a top set up man to deploy where needed, calling Daniel Bard "the best weapon you can have. ... Sometimes you wait to get to your closer, you’ve already lost. With guys like Bard, it’s bases loaded, seventh inning, you’re going to win or lose right there."

I JUST PLAY: Jake Peavy would love to stay on schedule and be ready for opening day, but he realizes that manager Ozzie Guillen is the man that makes the decisions. Peavy took care to make clear he wasn't interested in calling the shots and has not done so all spring. In light of Peavy's recent setback, the team will exercise caution in working the righty back into the rotation given how close he is to returning to action. (ChicagoBreakingSports.com)

PICK-TO-CLICK: Devin Mesoraco won't be making the Reds' roster, but he's caught the eye of manager Dusty Baker, who called the backstop his "pick-to-click" player. He could be the first option up from Triple-A if Ramon Hernandez and/or Ryan Hanigan get injured. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

ROAD TO THE BIGS: South Korea said no. Japan said no. So Tim Redding returned stateside and is now on the verge of making the major-league roster for the Dodgers as Vincente Padilla and Jon Garland have both been knocked out by injuries. You don't see that kind of story often. (Los Angeles Times)

BACK IN CENTER: Grady Sizemore will clear another hurdle Thursday when he plays center field for three innings for the first time since having microfracture surgery on his left knee in June. He served as DH in a game Sunday and will likely fill that capacity again on Thursday. (MLB.com)

LEAVING VIERA? The Nationals have been rumored to be looking for a new spring-training destination for quite some time. And now, from the mouth of owner Ted Lerner, it's confirmed that Washington is looking to move out from the east coast of Florida to cut down on travel time. While they would like to stay in Florida, Arizona is not being ruled out. (Washington Post)

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Posted on: February 15, 2011 10:05 am
Edited on: February 15, 2011 10:10 am

Morning Pepper: Plush digs in Arizona

Welcome to Morning Pepper, a roudup of news and notes from around baseball.

* Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz tweeted this photo of the team's workout room at the newest spring training facility, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Man, that place needs a nickname immediately. Anyway, the facility isn't too shabby, as you can see in this video tour with the Denver Post.

* Albert Pujols went to high school and college in Kansas City and has ties there. You don't suppose ... no, not going to happen.

* A look at the tie Stan Musial will wear today when he receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom (it seems the Cardinals are missing a good chance to at the very least make some money by selling those ties -- I'd buy one)

* The great Joe Posnanski on the most interesting winners of Gold Gloves

* Daniel Bard, who bears a strong resemblance to one of the guys in Lady Antebellum, reflects on his "Grammy win" and whether he might have to give up baseball for music.

* Grady Sizemore still shooting for opening day.

* Don't expect a quick answer to the Yankees' rotation.

* Jim Leyland looks at Patrick Leyland as a player in camp, not a son.

* Kerry Wood: I started with the Cubs, I want to end here.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans and David Andriesen

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Posted on: December 16, 2010 11:24 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2010 12:04 am

How does Boston's bullpen shake out with Jenks?

Jenks Now that Bobby Jenks is on the verge of joining the Red Sox bullpen, what does this mean for the future of Jonathan Papelbon and the closer's job in Boston?

For one, Papelbon remains the closer. Period. Jenks (pictured, left) is coming off his own struggles that saw him booted from the White Sox closer's job, while there's no reason to elevate Daniel Bard to the gig. Jenks actually outpitched Papelbon in 2010, you just wouldn't know it via ERA -- but it's not enough of a compelling case to bump Papelbon or even to trade Pap, given his albatross contract.

Papelbon has one season of arbitration left and figures to make around $13 million, which is a pretty penny. However, the Red Sox can afford the contract and probably even prefer to after seeing the likes of Matt Guerrier getting three years and $12 million from the Dodgers to pitch in the sixth inning.

What adding Jenks to the bullpen does is give Boston a deep corps that can shut games down late and put depth behind Papelbon should the righty struggle again.

Where this deal may have the most impact is after 2011. Papelbon will be a free agent, and will presumably exit stage left as he is concerned with maximizing his salary. That will leave Jenks and Daniel Bard to battle for the closer's spot -- and one has to imagine that Jenks has the edge for that job, especially if he pitches to form in 2011. (And riddle me this: Would Jenks have signed for two years if he wasn't told he would have the inside track on the closer's job in 2012? Why would he have signed otherwise?)

Bet on Jenks winning the job.

Yes, Daniel Bard is the best reliever on the team, but that's precisely why he shouldn't get the closer's job. These days, being a closer is overrated. A closer is limited to the ninth inning with the team ahead as much as three runs. (Or, if the bases are full and he comes in, the club could be ahead as much as five runs -- sad, but true.)

But what about that second-and-third, one-out situation in the eighth inning with the team up by one run? Isn't that more important? Sadly, these days, the closer generally would not come into these situations. That's where Bard comes in.

Manager Terry Francona has mentioned how much he enjoys having Bard as a weapon as he gets to use him as a relief ace and not pin him to a specific situation. That's why Bard had a 4.645 WXRL in 2010. Win Expectation above Replacement (WXRL) measures changes in win expectancy before and after a pitcher (in this case, Bard) enters a game. What did Bard's production do to alter the probability of winning a game? That's WXRL, with one extra twist: it takes into account strength of opponent as well -- preserving a one-run lead against the Royals is not as important as doing so against the Yankees.

Bard So yep, Bard (pictured, right) basically added 4.645 wins to the Red Sox squad. How about Papelbon?


Paps didn't hurt his team in 2010, but he didn't exactly help it, either. That says all you need to know about the importance of a closer. (Jenks is a scant 0.496, but that rose to 1.742 in 2009.)

And guess what? Matt Thornton topped the list for the White Sox by far in both years. How do the White Sox deploy Thornton?

Just like Bard.

The best way to use a bullpen is to designate a relief ace. That's what the Red Sox tried to do in 2003 -- they just had the wrong cast of players. That's how they deployed Keith Foulke in the 2004 postseason. (Remember how that turned out? Foulke's ring finger tells the story.)

And we haven't even gotten to the most important consideration of all: money.

Money makes the world go 'round, and it makes closers very, very happy people. By making Jenks a closer, the Red Sox can tamp down Bard's salary as he enters his arbitration years and keep his dollars at a sane level while enjoying production above and over what he would contribute as a closer.

Bard has long been considered the closer of the future in Boston. The acquisition of Jenks may change that.

And that's a good thing.

-- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com