The Padres just picked up heavyweight champ Michael Barrett from the Cubbies, leaving the incumbent Josh Bard in a precarious position. Now Bard isn’t nearly as good as his 2006 numbers suggest (.338-.406-.537, 9 HR & 40 RBI while splitting time with the Pizza-man), but he’s better than his 2007 showing (.253-.335-.349, 2 HR, 19 RBI in full-time duty) as his career line suggests (.267-.330-.408).
Bard would unquestionably be an upgrade over Wil Nieves, but he’s also an almost ideal backup:
- He doesn’t strikeout all that much (1 K every 6.4 AB, compared to 1 every 4.2 AB for Jorge and 1 every 6 for Wilbert).
- He’s relatively cheap ($1.05M salary, but that’s because of a healthy arbitration raise after his career year last year).
- He switch hits.
- He’s got experience working with a young pitching staff from his Cleveland days (for when Hughes, Joba, et al come along).
- He’s a great clubhouse guy; I’m talking captain material.
San Diego already has a solid backup catcher in Rob Bowen, and Bud Black doesn’t strike me as a three-catcher kind of manager. What would it take to get him? I have no idea, but I’d try to swing a Tyler Clippard & Brett Gardner for Bard & Cesar Ramos deal. Gardner makes sense for the Pads, they’ll need a cheap, speedy centerfielder to cover the gaps when Mike Cameron hits the bricks as a FA this winter, and Tyler Clippard, well, you all know how I feel about him. Ramos is similar to Clippard, except he’s a southpaw, he’s from a big time college program (Dirtbags in da house!) and has pitched some in some huge games.
Cash has to pull the trigger on this one, it’s a chance to upgrade one of the club’s weakest spots without having to forfeit a ton of talent, and/or getting locked into a soon-to-be albatross contract ($19.1M to Helton in 2011? Sheesh). Just think of how awesome it’ll be when Bard gets that big hit against the Red Sox to help win the Yanks the division.
Update: Turns out the Rob Bowen was part of the package that went to the Windy City; maybe the Pads will take Wilbert as part of a deal…