The Bucs have signed former Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard to a minor league deal. Bard, who's now 30, had three very good seasons in the Boston bullpen from 2009 through 2011, but he struggled with serious control issues in 2012 and has missed much of the last three seasons due to injury and ultimately had surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. The Pirates aren't the first team to take a chance on him -- he headed to the Rangers in 2014 and the Cubs last year, but didn't end up with much to show for it.
What Bard shares with most of the Pirates' other recent bullpen acquisitions is that he throws -- or at least threw -- very hard. His fastball averaged over 97 MPH in each of his first three seasons in the league before dipping in 2012, when the Red Sox tried to make him into a starter and he walked everyone. It obviously looks like a longshot that he can recover that velocity and turn it back into great results in 2016, but from the Pirates' perspective, it's not hard to see the appeal, especially on what's essentially a no-risk contract. The appeal for Bard is understandable too. Reclamation projects, he says, "seem to help out the Pirates a lot, and the Pirates seem to help them out a lot."