Monday, January 28, 2008


Erik Bédard's pending trade might be the start of him falling into experiencing that David Cone/Kevin Brown have-arm, will-travel type of career.

He'll be that Clint Eastwood type who rides in and saves the village, but he might not hang around after to check the housing ads. He is a helluva pitcher, though.

Anyway, here's a quick survey of what some are saying about the left-hander's pending trade from Baltimore to Seattle, as first reported last night by one-time Toronto Star baseball writer Geoff Baker.

The USS Mariner is absolutely cutting the potential sacrifice of hitting propsect Adam Jones to ribbons:
"Having two great pitchers is awesome, but unless you're cloning Pedro Martinez
in his prime, you better have a good supporting cast around them if you want to win consistently. The Mariners supporting cast now includes a DH in left field, a hole in right field, an enigma at second base, one of the worst first basemen in baseball, and a DH whose career is teetering on the verge of extinction. They also don't have any organizational depth in position players, so an injury to a key player (say, Ichiro or Adrian Beltre) pretty much ends their season before it starts."
Here's Steve Kelley from the Seattle Times. To be brutally honest, the first association was how some Leafs fans (present company included) reacted in June 2006 after John Ferguson Jr. traded for Andrew Raycroft. We believed what we wanted to believe:
"For the first time in about five years, they would have a rotation that can compete. With Bédard and (Félix) Hérnandez, they can avoid the seven-game losing streaks that sunk last season.

"Adding Bédard, along with free-agent right-hander Carlos Silva, would immunize the M's from an August collapse. This new-and-improved staff, combined with the Mariners' bullpen, would, at the very least, make this summer the sweetest in Seattle in years."
Was it that long ago Seattle won 116 games in a season? The Baltimore Sun is sure it's going down:
"As much as I cringe at the thought of relinquishing a homegrown No. 1 starter, a rebuilding team needs to move a pitcher that can bring back so much in return. A pitcher who seemingly wants to be on a club that's ready to contend now and looks at rebuilding the way Kevin Millar would look at a butterfly tattoo on a teammate’s lower back.

"... wish Jeremy Guthrie lots of luck as the Opening Day starter. And perhaps become nostalgic for the days when fourth place was assured, because this season, without Bédard and possibly (leadoff hitter) Brian Roberts, could get ugly."
One spin that we are likely to hear is how much Bédard's numbers will benefit from pitching half his games at Safeco Field instead of Camden Yards in Baltimore and not having to face all those big, bad Red Sox and Yankees hitters. His numbers should get a boost, but people tend to exaggerate the impact.

Bédard's ERA has tended to be more a than half run per game better in Camden Yards (which isn't the hitter's haven that people believe it is) than it is on the road. (2.81 to 3.47 in 2007; 3.52 to 4.14 lifetime). The sample sizes are too small to really determine anything, but his ERAs against New York and Boston are 3.58 and 4.95, compared to 4.12 and 6.18 against Oakland and the L.A. Angels. It won't be as big a deal as some people think. At the very least, those of us who are nocturnal will be able to follow his games closely if he pitches for a West Coast team.

If anyone at Rogers Sportsnet really cared about baseball, they would be making sure as many of Bédard's starts as possible are aired, if he goes to Seattle.

(One last thing: Knowing Orioles owner Peter Angelos, he probably keeps Bédard... it's the difference between 63-99 and 58-104 this season.)


Pete Toms said...

Geez, should us ball fans from this region switch allegiances? The M's draft Aumont 11th overall last year and now the pride of Almonte?

This is all over the web and the fact that Jones got called back to the US from winter ball indicates somethins up. Having said that, MacPhail issued a statement saying the deal isn't yet done. Have to think it's down to the short strokes though.

Pete Toms said...

Geoff Baker, couldn't remember how I knew that name. Thanks for reminding me that he worked for The TO Star ( which I rarely read ). Isn't he the guy who accused Ricciardi of being a racist?

Good trade for Seattle, they`ll be in the thick of it in the AL West. The A`s have conceded, Rangers are a handful of years away ( Daniels is doing a great job though ) and LA has question marks ( so does everybody save the superpowers ).


Dennis Prouse said...

How much of this has to do with Bedard's poor relationship with the media? He's not quite in the Steve Carlton range yet, but the fact that he doesn't "play the game" with the media certainly doesn't help him become a fan favourite. If this guy was a media friendly personality like a Steve Nash, he would have been locked up to a long term deal by the Orioles long ago.

sager said...

To be clear, Baker's just the guy who wrote the infamous White Jays story in 2003 ... it always smacked of being motivated by a certain columnist we don't mention by name around here and by the highers-up at The Star. The sports ed. at the time, IIRC, was Graham Parley and his sports section certainly reflected a hatred of baseball. (Parley, when he was at the National Post, also midwifed a couple Rebecca Eckler pieces in the sports section.)

As for Bédard's relationship with the media, it's pretty toxic with the Orioles and Peter Angelos and their fanbase all-around. The soft-spoken Franco-Ontarian has seemed to bear more than his fair share of it.

j said...

Nate -- you've been hanging around Ottawa too long. Why do you insist on putting the accent on Bedard's name? He doesn't spell it that way!

j said...

Strike Nate with Neate. Sorry about that.

See what you made me do!

sager said...

If you're absolutely sure, I'll change ... on Wikipedia they have him as "Érik Bédard."

It's too hard to put the accent on the capital E, plus that's not the francophone spelling of Éric.

Pete Toms said...

j, how do you know how Bédard spells his name? Do you make this assumption based on how the English Cdn & American media spell it? A US writer ( and I don't mean this insultingly ) wouldn't know what the hell é is anyway!

The guy is french, deal with it or call CFRA (don't know if you're a local ) and complain.

sager said...

The Citizen does spell it Bédard ... and they're always right. On that note, when are we camping out to line up for Ottawa Blue Jays season tickets? :)

j said...

He is not French -- he is Canadian.

You want to know how he signs his name:

sager said...

Maybe the marker ran out of ink before he could add the accent?

Just yankin ya, J.