If you told me several years ago that one of the Colorado Rockies' most valuable trade chips in 2022 would be a 37-year-old pitcher that had found new life with the team after a seven-year hiatus, I would have told you to shut your mouth and stop acting crazy. Yet, life is stranger than fiction, and that just happens to be the case in 2022. Daniel Bard has been top of the line this season and it’s only natural that Bill Schmidt’s phone will be ringing quite a bit over the next month from teams inquiring about his closer.
However, as Patrick Saunders recently noted in a mailbag article for The Denver Post, “It’s a no-brainer that the Rockies should trade him at the right price. But I would not rule out the Rockies attempting to give Bard a contract extension. They love his work ethic and his leadership and he’s become a second bullpen coach.”
This is a team that is typically averse to trading away players if they have intentions to re-sign and/or extend them, as was the case in 2021 with Jon Gray and Trevor Story. However, let’s explore the idea that Daniel Bard could potentially find himself sticking with the Rockies for multiple years if he isn’t traded.
Through 29 2⁄3 innings, Bard has an electric 2.12 ERA en route to his 15 saves this season. He’s also striking out a career-high 30.3% of batters while limiting walks to a 10.9% clip and has allowed just three home runs on the season. What’s even more encouraging is that opposing batters have a .146 AVG against Bard and when they hit the ball it’s been a groundball 54.4% of the time.
Bard is no longer plagued by the splits struggles he had last season either. After being dominated by left-handed batters in 2021, they are now batting just .161 against him. At Coors Field, he has a 2.65 ERA as opposed to a 1.42 ERA on the road where opponents have slashed just .093/.220/.163 against him. He has quietly become one of the more dominant relievers this season, especially amongst closers.
In the month of June alone, Bard has tossed 12 1⁄3 innings allowing just one earned run for a 0.73 ERA and recording 12 punchouts and seven walks. These are numbers that have helped him earn serious consideration to be sent to the All-Star game next month and it’s something that any team could really use.
So with these stats in mind, it makes sense that the Rockies would feel inclined to pursue an extension with Bard, as he has been a solid rock at the backend of the bullpen, so what could that potentially look like?
Cold Bard Cash
This season Bard is earning $4.4 million which is a relative bargain considering everything he has accomplished. It’s a low enough price that the Rockies will surely have a higher asking price from potential suitors. However, it also stands to reason that a Bard extension wouldn’t be as costly as many other relievers would be in the past.
At 37 years old, Bard is one of the oldest free agents heading into the offseason. His fellow relievers included Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Craig Kimbrel, Edwin Diaz, and Taylor Rogers, all of whom are younger than Bard. However, many of those players may potentially garner a nice pay day of $10 million a season at least, which the Rockies have probably learned not to do with relievers anymore.
According to FanGraphs’s formula, Bard’s 0.6 fWAR this season converts to roughly a $4.5 million contract value. Assuming the Rockies would offer a higher pay bump, I could see Bard signing for an AAV of $5.5 million at the most. Despite not having as much mileage on his arm as many other relievers, you still have to consider the natural aging process, and the Rockies don’t want to get stuck with another aging reliever that can’t get outs, regardless of how good they’ve been the year before.
Which brings up the question; how long would they extend him?
This is always a difficult question, but when the Rockies mention “long-term” I consider something along the lines of the C.J. Cron extension. A two-year deal worth about $11 million with some incentives, feels at home in the Rockies’ methods of operations. Perhaps they include a team option for a third year and keep Bard around through his age 40 season.
Is it worth it?
We know that the Boston Red Sox are very interested in trading for Bard, among other teams, so there is a lot of incentive to trade him. This is the logical path, with the option of bringing him back after the season, having been able to add some depth pieces that you desperately need. However, when have the Rockies ever been completely logical? I’m not opposed to Bard sticking around, but trading him first before exploring that option feels like the right move. Only time will tell over the coming month what Bill Schmidt and the Rockies plan on doing.
Would you try to extend Bard? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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Colorado Rockies podcast: What they should do at the trade deadline |
Our pals at Rox Pile recorded a podcast all about what the Rockies should consider doing at the trade deadline this season. It’s definitely going to be an interesting situation for the Rockies this season as they are poised to have plenty of pieces to move that could net them some important pieces for the future.
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On The Farm
Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes 11 Sugar Land Space Cowboys 3
A five-run eighth inning was a highlight in this matchup for the Isotopes as they slugged their way to an 11-3 victory. José Ureña had one of his better starts this season, allowing three runs on eight hits in six innings of work. The offense was supported by Carlos Perez and Jonathan Morales, as they both managed to drive in three runs apiece, with both hitting a home run.
Double-A: Binghamton Rumble Ponies 7, Hartford Yard Goats 3
The Yard Goats had a tough order in facing Max Scherzer on a rehab assignment but managed to hold their own. They managed to score three runs on four hits in 4 2⁄3 innings against Scherzer to take the lead, but it was short-lived as Noah Gotsis was tagged with the loss after giving up four runs on three hits in 2 2⁄3 innings of work. Aaron Schunk led the way offensively with a pair of hits and two runs driven in for the Yard Goats. Mitchell Kilkenny started on the hill for Hartford, giving up two runs on six hits in five innings of work.
High-A: Vancouver Canadians 6, Spokane Indians 5
Spokane lost a close one as the Vancouver bullpen closed the door on them late in the game. Tony Locey tossed five innings to start the game, giving up four runs on five hits. Zac Veen, Drew Romo, and Julio Carreras all had multi-hit nights, including Veen’s second triple of the season.
Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies 13, Stockton Ports 6
Fresno slugged six home runs on the night, including a pair from Warming Bernabel as they routed the Stockton Ports 13-6. Bernabel drove in five runs on the night during his three-hit game, while Yanquiel Fernandez went 5-for-6 with a home run and four runs scored. EJ Andrews Jr. also threw out three hits at the bottom of the lineup to help the offense. Case Williams wasn’t as sharp in his outing, allowing six runs in five innings of work, but the Fresno bullpen held firm the rest of the way as they tossed four innings of shutout baseball.
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