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Nats Sign C Bard

The Nationals today agreed to a non-guaranteed minor league contract with catcher Josh Bard, adding the 30-year-old as a possible back-up behind Jesus Flores. Bard spent this spring with the Boston Red Sox, who released him three days ago. If Bard makes the roster, he will earn $600,000.

Lifetime, Bard has a .265 average and .395 slugging percentage in seven big league seasons. He's spent much of the last three years with San Diego, enjoying his best season in 2007, when, in 389 at bats, he hit .285 with five home runs and 51 RBI.

Boston signed Bard this offseason to a one-year, $1.7 million deal, envisioning him as the personal catcher for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. But Bard struggled to catch Wakefield's knuckler, and despite his success at the plate -- he had a .429 average in six spring games -- Boston decided to cut ties before it had to pay his full salary.

Bard, who will turn 31 on March 30, joins a mix of Washington catchers that includes Wil Nieves and Javier Valentin. Flores, the starter, has missed much of this month with a right elbow strain, but took batting practice today.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 21, 2009; 2:21 PM ET
 
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Comments

jca, what's the scoop?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 21, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Was he the one who had knuckleballer issues? Not that it matters for us.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 21, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Trade Valentin back to the Reds to keep Young in the org. (AAA) and have Montz/Bard split the time in Syracuse, unless of course Bard outplays Nieves the rest of the spring.

Posted by: AnonymousSources | March 21, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

This looks like a "band-aid" move at the ML level - The Nats' braintrust doesn't think Montz is ready for the big-show, and Bard is in camp in case Flores can't go on Opening Day.

Posted by: BinM | March 21, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

He got traded last year for mirabelli last year because he couldn't handle Wakefield ... I doubt he signed that contract this year to be wakefield catcher

Posted by: theredskin | March 21, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Chico - Are they signing him as a backup to Nieves if Flores is still hurt, or are they signing him as a backup to Flores and planning to send Nieves to AAA? Did they not like Valentin for 3rd string (I think he's better than Montz, who came up at the end of last year?)?

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | March 21, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Nieves' motor is always in high gear and he was a fan favorite. Naturally, management wants to dump him.

Boston needs serious help behind the plate. Veratek is old and coming off his worst season in a decade. Doesn't say much for Bard's catching skills.

Posted by: howjensen | March 21, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I really liked the Beimel signing but this one has me scratching my head. I'm not sure what to make of it. Perhaps Flores is more seriously injured than the Nats are letting on and they want a more experienced pair of catchers until he's healthy again.

If Bard is really just competing for a back up role, then I'm confused. I think Nieves is solid defensively, the pitchers seem to like throwing to him, and he hit enough last year to be okay as a bench player. I thought they might carry Valentine as a lefty hitter in a bit of a platoon role, if they made any change at all. Bard? Sorry, I don't see the logic.

Posted by: grforbes | March 21, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

If you ever saw Bard try to catch Wakefield in past years, you know there's no way Boston really thought of him as Wakefield's catcher.

Posted by: fischy | March 22, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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