Winner In Bedard Trade Still Up In The Air

Seattle Hardball contributor Eric Yang looks at the Erik Bedard trade and wonders if the price was too high.

Last offseason for Seattle Mariners fans was very long and very intriguing. Reports came out saying that the M's were interested in acquiring Baltimore starting pitcher Erik Bedard, soon after signing Carlos Silva to a four year, $48 million deal to bulk up the pitching staff. Management decided to pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal for this number one caliber starter. The cost was five prospects including prized talent Adam Jones.

In addition to Jones, the Mariners gave up George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, and Cameron Mikado. Jones was the centerpiece of the deal because he has all five tools and projects to be similar to other center fielders like Mike Cameron or Vernon Wells. So far this season Jones has hit .238 with two home runs and 11 RBI. But it's not his offense we miss in Seattle even though the signing of Brad Wilkerson has turned out to be a bust. Raul Ibanez has been himself offensively this season, but on the defensive side of the ball he has clearly lost a step. This is where Jones, who has great speed, could have made a difference.

The Mariners also miss Sherrill, who pitched in a setup role and was also used in lefty-lefty situations. With the struggles of Eric O'Flaherty (who has since been sent to the minors), Sherrill would've been a good option to have out of the pen. He also could have filled in as closer while J.J. Putz was injured. Sherrill is now the closer with the Baltimore Orioles has five saves against the M's this season, and is tied for the AL lead with 17 saves overall. His presence has been missed in the Seattle bullpen and has been a big plus for the surprising Orioles.

While Jones and Sherrill are in the majors, the other three pieces of the Bedard deal are still developing in the minors. Scouts say Tillman, Butler, and Mikado are all future major league players who will contribute at that level. Tillman, however, has the potential to be a good #3 starter in the bigs.

The reason the Mariners traded for Bedard was to get a #1 starter who could step into the role and relieve young Felix Hernandez of some pressure. He is expected to bring stability to the pitching staff and be the stopper for the team. So far he is 3-2 with a 3.24 ERA this season. However, for the long term, it looks like Baltimore got the better of the deal and here is why: five players will always beat one in the long run, especially if they are all eventually major leaguers.

For Bedard to validate this trade for the Mariners he must be not only a #1 starter, but he also needs to win the the Cy Young and take the team to a World Series. If he can do that, then the price of the trade will have been worth it. But until then, Baltimore wins because they get a budding star in Jones and four other players who all have a chance to make an impact in the near future. The Emerald City hopes that Bedard will get continue to improve this season and help get the team to the playoffs. If not, and Bedard walks after the 2009 season, this deal will be remembered as just another bad trade that haunts Mariner fans everywhere.

Many fans think trading away potential stars is good to get the talent to win now, but remember the Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocomb deal? It seemed like a good idea at the time but looking back, it's one of the worst trades the Mariners have ever made. This potential deal may be worse because of the talent given up for only two years of Bedard's services, compared to at least five years for the players traded in the deal, especially if the Mariners are nowhere near the playoffs in either of the next two seasons.

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