The Mariners secured what has to be assumed as Rob Johnson insurance. They signed Josh Bard to a minor league contract and gave him an invitation to spring training.
Bard is not going to bring much if anything at all to the table offensively. At the very best he could present “match-up” problems.
Defensively, he doesn’t really look to be any improvement over Johnson. Although, it’s hard to quantify what a catcher does. Matt Klaassen (aka devil_fingers) over at drive line mechanics wrote up a post on catching statistics and quantifying defensive abilities at the hardest position to do so. In the post Bard finished third to last defensively. Ehhh….
Now, while he may not work out, he is again a low risk. A lot like Corey Patterson. The difference being that Patterson is above average at defense where as Bard is at best average with the bat and below average with his glove.
There are a few posts over at fangraphs that did suggest that he could be a low risk, medium reward. At the very worse he gets cut or plays in Tacoma in case something were to happen to Moore or Johnson. At the best he makes Johnson expendable and may we flip him for someone who believes in his “defensive” prowess. Though I don’t think there are many left as those defensive qualities seem to be acknowledged widely to be extricated.