The Boston Red Sox could use some bullpen help at the MLB trade deadline, and there's one potential option whom fans will find familiar.
In his latest column for The Athletic, longtime baseball reporter Peter Gammons noted the Red Sox are "shopping for two right-handed relievers" and "likely will be in" on Colorado Rockies reliever Daniel Bard ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline.
Bard has a remarkable baseball journey. Boston selected him in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft, and the right-hander emerged as a dominant reliever for the Red Sox in 2010 and early 2011. He flamed out due to control issues in 2013, however, and went six years without pitching in the big leagues before joining the Rockies in 2020.
Bard since has resurrected his career, earning the National League Comeback Player of the Year award in 2020 and boasting a sterling 1.88 ERA this season with a 0.94 WHIP and 15 saves.
While Tanner Houck currently holds the Red Sox closer role, he's by no means a lock and has allowed seven hits over his last four outings. Bard and his 98-mph fastball would provide an immediate boost to Boston's bullpen, giving manager Alex Cora a legitimate ninth-inning option if Bard can translate his success from the NL to the loaded American League East.
The 37-year-old is making just $4.4 million on a bargain one-year deal, so he's very much in Chaim Bloom's price range. Bloom might be wary of parting with a prospect to acquire a player on an expiring contract, but if the Red Sox want to be serious playoff contenders, they need to fortify a bullpen that's tied for second in the AL with 14 blown saves.
"When you want to win a championship and you want to make the postseason, you have to be able to hold leads," Red Sox general manager Brian O'Halloran told WEEI this week, adding that his team is "definitely" monitoring the relief pitcher market.
Bringing Bard back to the team he debuted for 13 years ago would make for quite the story.