Cubs will non-tender Bard, sign McDonald

Cubs will non-tender Bard, sign McDonald
December 2, 2013, 5:00 pm
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Daniel Bard might have to find somewhere else to hit the reset button on his career.

Sources said the Cubs will not tender Bard a contract before Monday night’s deadline, though there’s a chance he could stay in the organization on a non-roster deal.

The Cubs hoped to catch lightning in a bottle with Bard, a former first-round pick out of the University of North Carolina who had once been an elite setup guy with the Boston Red Sox.

Bard does have a history with Theo Epstein’s front office, but he’s far removed from that dominant 2010 season in Boston, where he put up a 1.93 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 74.2 innings. There have been injuries, mechanical issues and a crisis of confidence. 

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Bard didn’t throw a single pitch for the Cubs after they claimed him off waivers in September. The 28-year-old right-hander couldn’t figure it out playing winter ball in Puerto Rico. He got one out in three appearances with Criollos de Caguas, giving up eight runs and nine walks and hitting three batters.

The Cubs have a large group of arbitration-eligible players that also includes second baseman Darwin Barney, outfielder Nate Schierholtz and pitchers Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Pedro Strop and James Russell. 

A source confirmed the Cubs have signed another ex-Red Sox – outfielder Darnell McDonald – to a minor-league deal with an invitation to major-league spring training. McDonald, 35, split last season between Triple-A Iowa and Chicago. He’s viewed as a good clubhouse influence, someone who’s lived through the hype as a first-round pick and potential NFL prospect and carved out a career as a bench player.