Penny and Bard

Reports have surfaced that the Red Sox are close to signing Brad Penny and the once and former Tim Wakefield catcher, Josh Bard, to contracts.

Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald has Penny set to sign a 1-year, $5mm deal with another $3mm possible in incentive earnings.  Penny was terrible last year suffering from shoulder issues.  Speaking of shoulders, he has perhaps the widest shoulders in the history of baseball.

Penny will compete for a middle to end rotation spot.  McAdam suggests this MIGHT allow the Red Sox to keep Justin Masterson in the bullpen.  My take?  Prepare Masterson for the rotation as Penny is a huge question mark.

I’m not overly thrilled with this signing, but I suppose signing someone of Penny’s potential skill level was necessary (like Bartolo Colon).  If one of the young guys, such as Clay Buchholz or Michael Bowden can’t help, then it is nice to have a pitcher like Penny to turn to.  His health is a major concern though.

As for Josh Bard, McAdams says it is a non-guaranteed $1.6mm deal.  Many of us recall his struggles catching Tim Wakefield and the subsequent trade to re-acquire Doug Mirabelli.  Bard hit very well in 2006 (once traded to SD) and slightly less so in 2007, but regressed terribly in 2008 and was ultimately released by the San Diego Padres.  Per McAdam’s article, he is looked at as a back-up.

With Kevin Cash now a potential Yankee (minor league deal), the Red Sox had to sign someone, right?

Bard is just a glove at this point and one that can only catch conventional pitchers.  Again, I am not thrilled by this deal as the Red Sox have not really addressed the bigger need at catcher.

Penny and Bard both have major question marks and I am not expecting either to have a major or even moderate impact on the 2009 team.  To me, both represent insurance (the cheap and questionable kind, like from SBLI).