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Daniel Bard, 2014 Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers, like many other teams, like to take chances on guys who are trying to reclaim their previous greatness but were injured and battled other problems. Most of the time, it doesn't work out, but sometimes it does.
You can add Daniel Bard to the list of the former as the Rangers cut ties with the 28-year-old, who was once a dominant setup man for the Boston Red Sox. Think the Rangers' relievers-turned-starters didn't work out well? Well, Bard took it to another level.
Before the Red Sox tried to make the hard-throwing righty a starter for the 2012 season, he was one of the league's top setup men. In 2010, he put up a 1.93 ERA with his triple-digit fastball and hard sinker in the low 90s and was basically unhittable.
After a failed bit as a starter and a thoracic outlet surgery, the Rangers inked Bard to a minor-league deal this spring. Turns out, he's still unhittable, but it's not what you think.
Pitching in low-A Hickory this season, Bard faced 18 hitters. He didn't give up a hit, but he only retired two of them — walking nine batters and hitting seven — with a complete loss of control.
It's a remarkably bad stat line, including 13 earned runs that pushed his ERA up to 175.50 — yes, 175.50. His walks per nine innings in 121.5.
It's a sad story of a once-dominant pitcher's drastic fall from grace. You just have to hope none of the Rangers' homegrown guys suffer the same fate.