So instead of signing with the Yankees, Bard enrolled in the University of North Carolina. In 2006 he reentered the draft where the Yankees could have had him again. Instead the Red Sox took him with the 28th overall pick in the draft and he eventually became an integral part of their bullpen.
In either instance that’s not the way it had to go down.
In the first instance the Yankees could have just ponied up the $2 million it took and signed Bard. That’s an awful lot to offer a 20th round draft pick though, but if they negotiated in good faith it is possible they could have brought that number down a bit.
Fast forward to 2006. The Yankees actually had the 21st overall pick in that draft, but I’m not talking about passing up on Ian Kennedy to draft Bard instead (after all, Kennedy did bring value back in Curtis Granderson). I’m talking about the 28th overall pick – it was supposed to be the Yankees pick that year.
See, the Yankees got the 21st overall pick that year thanks to the Phillies signing Tom Gordon, but they initially had the 28th overall pick that year. They gave it up, to the Red Sox, when they signed Johnny Damon. If the Yankees had chosen not to, they would have been picking 28th overall with Bard still on the board.
In once instance $2 million is not what you pay to your 20th round draft pick and Damon played a huge role in helping the Yankees to win the 2009 World Series. So I am not advocating that they made a mistake in not getting Bard, but merely to point out how close they came, twice, to acquiring Bard and how things could have been different.
Imagine if Bard was on the Yankees this offseason. They either wouldn’t have signed Rafael Soriano or they wouldn’t have the room in the bullpen for Joba Chamberlain and would be forced to consider him as a starter. It’s crazy to think about the possibilities.