The Red Sox have to make this happen.
Daniel Bard. Fenway Park. Red Sox. Big games. Big innings. Circle of life.
In case you haven't been paying attention, Bard has become one of Major League Baseball's best stories in the last year. Last season, he came out of retirement to become one of the few athletes ever to come back from the "yips" while winning the MLB Comeback Player of the Year.
This season, the 36-year-old Bard has kept his momentum going while serving as the closer for the Rockies. Like his team, Bard has had some bumps in the road throughout the first three months of the 2021 season, saving 12 of 17 opportunities while posting a 4.08 ERA.
But, all things considered, Bard remains the kind of late-inning reliever most teams would crave. Take his last three outings, for instance, which has seen the righty manage two strikeouts in each of the one-inning stints while not giving up a run.
His four-seam fastball clocks in at an average of 97.7 mph with the best spin rate in the game.
At times, he has been the pitcher who bears a striking resemblance to the Daniel Bard who dominated out of the Red Sox bullpen from 2009-11.
While Bard's numbers against lefties (.333 batting average, 1.022 OPS against). would suggest his skill-set would come too close to duplicating Adam Ottavino, dig a little deeper and you will find most of the issues came early in the season with the reliever holding left-handed batters to a .229 batting average and .698 OPS since May 14. Against right-handed batters? They are only hitting .190 with a .604 OPS vs. Bard.
Now, while the Rockies aren't going anywhere, and Bard is a somewhat advanced age, the acquisition of the pitcher might not come cheap. He makes just under $3 million this year and has another year of arbitration-eligibility.
Still, it would most likely be worth the investment for the Red Sox, who even with Ryan Brasier coming back could use one more reliable late-inning arm.
So, what would it take? Let's give it a whirl ...
Red Sox get: RP Daniel Bard.
Rockies get: SP Chris Murphy.
Murphy was a sixth-round pick out of the University of San Diego and has impressed during his relatively brief pro career. The 6-foot-1 lefty has a 3.08 ERA in 10 starts with Single-A Greenville, striking out 53 and walking 16 in 49 2/3 innings. (For more on Murphy, click here for WEEI.com story on the Red Sox pitching prospect.)
In short, Murphy - who is ranked as the 16th overall prospect in the organization by SoxProspects.com - would seem to have a legitimate chance at becoming a major league starter, which is something obviously of value to Colorado.
Some might suggest you simply can't give up a starting pitching prospect for a 36-year-old relief pitcher. But consider that Bard wouldn't only be part of this year's bullpen, but part of the solution for next season, as well. And, by the way, this is a pitcher who would seemingly have saved plenty of pitches for his late 30's due to career inactivity for the past few years.