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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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December 4, 2007 6:57 PM

M's not out of Bedard hunt

Posted by Geoff Baker

Since office hours are long done, I figured I could post some video for you to watch without worrying about your boss tiptoeing up behind you. It's easy for me to describe how massive this hotel is in words. But to see it is something else. So, I shot some footage for you and provided some play-by-play. Keep in mind, it was shot with a handheld camera and these meetings tend to make writers a little bit edgy. Hope you enjoy!

Some good news for the Mariners regarding Erik Bedard: Orioles president Andy McPhail -- who has put a clampdown on leaks to the media after being unhappy with some reports this morning -- told Baltimore-area reporters a short while ago that he has yet to be blown away by any offers for his pitcher. So, all that talk about the Dodgers being set to land Bedard could be premature. Some people I've spoken to in the past hour indicate that there are officials inside the O's front office who feel the Mariners are the best fit for Baltimore when it comes to potential trade keys. Not clear how many players the Mariners have offered to Baltimore for Bedard and wherther there are more than two at this stage.

The Mets were shut down in a trade proposal yesterday, but apparently came back today with another offer. One thing to keep in mind with the Orioles is that they've drafted catchers in two of the past four years, so Jeff Clement is not of very high interest to them. In fact, the team is apparently more keen on Wladimir Balentien. The O's also like Adam Jones and Brandon Morrow, so it's possible we could see a combo of those names if the M's are indeed successful in their bid.

The Dodgers, as we mentioned earlier, have offered an intriguing package of Jonathan Broxton and Matt Kemp to the O's. But here's the catch: Baltimore appears to want more than those two names. When it gets down to packages of two or more prospects, the Mariners might have the edge because there is apparently (so far, anyway) a limit to the number of prospects Los Angeles is willing to deal. So, the M's -- if all of this hold true -- appear to still be in it. From what I'm told, they are in the top-three as far as the O's are concerned.

The Dodgers and Mariners are also still in on the bidding for Hiroki Kuroda, along with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kuroda apparently expects to visit all three major league stops next week, once the meetings are over. So, it looks like the Mets are going to be a non-factor in bidding for him. Good news for the M's, for now.

Forget about Ben Sheets. From what I'm told, the Mariners have spoken with the Brewers, but Sheets isn't part of it. Sorry if I misled you earlier. I know we've generated a lot of discussion. My bad. No word yet on what the Mariners and Brewers are discussing (maybe they're trying to pry Chris Capuano loose?) but it isn't Sheets -- known in Milwaukee as the Most-Traded-Player-Who-Never-Gets-Traded.

Also, put the kibbosh (please!) on any Richie Sexson-Ray Durham rumors. We mentioned before that the Tim Lincecum combo wasn't going to work, nor are the Giants willing to do a Sexson-Durham straight up. They apparently consider it trading one bad contract for another and they get the short end of the stick. So, nix to that.

One of you commented that I get all my info from Bill Bavasi. I wish that was true. He's probably sitting up in the team's suite laughing at a lot of what's written online. It's the silly season, full of rumors. But there is always a degree of truth to much of what's heard. The hard part is sorting out the truth from the fiction.

Everyone's still waiting for the official word on the Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis trade to the Tigers. The Detroit-based writer sitting next to me in the media room says an announcement could come down late tonight, but several outlets are now reporting the deal as done. Nothing on Johan Santana yet, though it appears he's headed to Boston.

Off to talk to Bavasi shortly...

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Posted by Digger

7:33 PM, Dec 04, 2007


More pictures. They're the best part of your reports. (At least until you get a scoop).

Posted by -j.

7:35 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Bavasi sitting in his hotel laughing at whats written online? Laughing because he sees the Mariners supposedly in on all these big names when he knows they won't get any of them. I was really hoping on that Sheets front. Dang. Capuano isn't nearly as enticing but would be a better get than Kuroda.
If the Orioles downed and offer of Kemp and Broxton, the Mariners would have to empty the cubbard to get him. I would love Bedard but pulling a Detroit would be more devastating for the Mariners since they have a harder time re-building the farm. Especially with asinine decisions being made like not offering Guillen arbitration and tossing away that supplemental pick.

Posted by Kyle in Kentucky

7:48 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Do the Orioles really want Balentien over Clement!?!?!? Let's make that happen now!

Posted by Kyle in Kentucky

7:56 PM, Dec 04, 2007

John McLaren was just on the Hot Stove League and said he canceled a trip to Venezuela that was going to happen tomorrow. Something may be up on the player acquisition front... Let's hope.

Posted by -j.

8:00 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Its getting around now (I didn't hear it) but people are say Shannon Drayer was on KOMO saying that she got a call from a national writer asking about the two pitchers in the Bedard offer. Knowing one had to be Morrow, she guessed the second was Sherrill.

Also the Mariners have also been in contact with Geoff Jenkins agent. Bedard talks must be progressing.

Posted by Garry

8:22 PM, Dec 04, 2007

I have to interject something here...4 years ago baseball analyst were reporting the Seattle farm system was one of the BEST in MLB! "Now" over the past several years we are rated VERY low in our farm system compared to the majority of other teams...If I recall right we are something like 20 or 22 down on the list of the 30 MLB teams. How could are farm system just go to pot over night? NONE...I REPEAT NONE of our prospects that were top in all the farms systems around EVER panned out for us. Some keep on bringing up Varitek, Lowe & David Ortiz that "use" to be in our farm system that our GM sent packing in pathetic trades. Ok that was a NIGHTMARE to say the least, and you take Varitek & Ortiz out of the BoSox lineup over the past 5 years, and they would "still" be that cursed team from way back when. NOW WHAT IS MY POINT OF ALL THIS? What are the odds that Jones is going to be another Tori Hunter? especially with his SO rates? You think Morrow has what it takes to hit the starting rotation with just 1 or 2 pitches without getting shelled periodically? Don't get me wrong Sherrill & Morrow were pretty decent for us in 2007! AND Jones has some upside, but lets not overrate Jones just yet...he's had one great year in AAA. Bedard is worth packaging Jones/Morrow/Sherrill to the Os, especially "if" we can commit him to an extension! Besides BoSox ripping us a new hole on that Slocumb deal...NONE of our top prospects over the past 4 years have amounted to ANYTHING! ANYTHING!!! Let's take the ace and run, and "if" we can figure out a way to keep Clement out of the deal, because the O's have 2 top Catchers in their system...then all the better. Send them Jones and get the heck on the horn with Fukudome's agent trumping the Padres $8M/yr 3yr offer. I can run with Wlad & Fukudome for LF and RF, but I'm sure Ibanez would stay put in LF if that were the case with Wlad as our 4th OFer in 2008.

Posted by Bob Fribber

8:22 PM, Dec 04, 2007

We have young talent that could be molded into star power. Brandon Morrow would be a tremendous loss, considering he is a young proven fireballer. And with age would improve.

Any Jeff Clement trade, I would personally boycott the Mariners. How assanine can you be. We have been mired with weak right handed catchers for the last ten years. We finally draft and as of right now still have a possible left-handed power hitting catcher. UM! We have never had that. I am sorry if you fans and Geoff are Johjima fans, but he is a one-dimensional batter and an average catcher. Did we learn anything from the Varitek-Lowe Debacle. Boston now has a very good switch-hitting catcher. A team leader.

Do not mortgage the future, for the unknown. Ben Sheets? Only for players other than Morrow, Jones, Clement, Rowland-Smith and I would even add Rob Johnson to the mix.

The only true positive outcome would be to rid or team of Sexson, but that unfortunately will not happen without receiving similar players in return.

Posted by Tyler

8:30 PM, Dec 04, 2007

G- Meant no disrespect at all by my comments about information coming from Bavasi. Certainly not an indictment of you but moreso of Bavasi. I guess I would just like to see Bavasi actually make a substantial move instead of putting out the image that they are in on all of these big deals, only to fall back and make a desperation Soriano-Ramirez deal because they "had" to do something and they missed out on the big fish. I guess it just comes back to the lack of trust in Bavasi and the Mariner front office to be forthcoming about what is really going on.

Posted by Patrick F.

8:38 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Chris Capuano could be a nice addition to the M's staff. He had his ups and downs last year, but is a decent left-handed pitcher. It didn't make sense that Ben Sheets would be available. If Adam Jones and Brandon Morrow can get Erik Bedard, wouldn't the M's want to pull the trigger on that deal?

Detroit's lineup looks super menancing with the addition of Cabrera and Willis. The only problem is they parted with all their prospects to do it.

Posted by MT

8:38 PM, Dec 04, 2007

are you talking about the M's? Really? Cause the farm was totally gutted 4 years ago when Bavasi took over, and now it is average at worst, AT WORST.

No prospects over the last four years amounted to anything? Betancourt, Putz, Raffy Soriano, Lowe, Serrill, Sean Green amounted to nothing? You're hallucinating.

The fact that over the last four years we haven't had any prospects come up and hit like Miguel Cabrera is a testament to how bad the system was FOUR YEARS AGO, and if we keep on sending prospects like Jones and Clement away that will continue to be the case. Adam Jones was one of the top ten prospects in all of baseball last year, number one the year before. Morrow had zero professional experience when he joined the club and proved effective against major league bats - almost unprecedented. Clement, if he can learn his position (and catchers mature later than other position players - Varitek was not a regular til 27) is almost sure to be an allstar. At worst, he's an average 1B - think Ibanez.

Posted by MT

8:50 PM, Dec 04, 2007

I was so flabbergasted by Garry's comment I forgot to say what I wanted. Geoff, thanks for all the pictures and video, they're hilarious. I love this country in all its forms.

I'm glad Bavasi is talking about Bedard. I've long thought he should be the prime target this offseason. Trouble is the Baltimore seems to ask the moon for their stars, but if they really prefer Wlad to Clement, they hey. Also, they have such a terrible bullpen, and Seattle's is so incredibly deep, that its almost a dovetail fit. I really hope something gets done here.

I know the concerns about Bedard's not pitching 200 innings and all, but a) we've got good enough 6th starters to handle some time off, b) a deep enough bullpen to handle same, and c) health is a concern with any pitcher and at least bedard will be monitored. This is his prime, and I would love to see him pitch here come Opening Day.

Posted by shane/olympia

9:01 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Patrick F.
"the only problem is that they parted with all thier prospects to do it"

see the thing is not only do they want to go to the playoffs they want to win the whole thing this year, next year and the year after

in mlb today teams are always changing so much so you can't even think of anything 4 years from now

Posted by byebyeIbanez

9:08 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Yeah, Gary MT is right. If there's one thing you can't knock Bavasi for it's rebuilding the farm system that was completely gutted by the Pat Gillick regime.

Posted by rb

9:20 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Don't bash Bavasi for rebuilding the farm system, he has actually done a pretty nice job. If you want to bash him for player development, however, the M's refusal to take advantage of the free competitive advantage available by going "over slot" on draft picks is absurd. Small wonder why the RSox, Yanks, and Tigers are all in such better shape than the teams that bow to Selig's "recommendations".

Great video though Geoff, and great work.

Posted by bltailor

9:22 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Well the thing about farm systems is that they cycle heavily. If you pull out a BA from 4-5 yrs ago all the orginizations farm systems have gone up and down. I dont mind trading prospects for Bedard, but to me, Bedard hasnt really proven himself as a bonafide #1 starter. Yes he was great last yr but still only logged 180 innings. Is every convinced hes a lock-down #1? Id give two prospects for him but 3 of your top 10 seems like a high price to me. Not sure what the M's should do though, if this is the price for pitching its a tough deal

Posted by Mr. X

10:01 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Calling Yuniesky Betancourt a former Mariner prospect is a sure sign that someone has been visiting a local Bavasi Bathhouse. Yuni could have started out with the big club, but Bavasi wanted to give Wilson Valdez a shot over 3 or 4 more deserving players. Betancourt's first contract was a major league contract, and he was immediately added to the 40-man roster. It took him almost exactly six months to make it to the big leagues after signing that contract. We're not talking about 6 months into the baseball season, he signed his contract on January 26th, and made his Mariners debut on July 28th, officially ending the "Shortstop Mike Morse" experiment.

What has Sean Green amounted to exactly? It's instructive that some of the people who blast Jose Lopez for having one good half of a season are more than ready to sing Sean Green's praises, when he's only had 3 good months out of two years.

And if you're going to complain about the state of the farm system when Bavasi took over, you really shouldn't point to the success of players who were in that farm system. If you can look at Felix, Adam Jones, Asdrubal Cabrera, Balentien, Putz, Lopez, Soriano, Sherrill, Rowland-Smith, O'Flaherty, Feierabend, Woerman, and others (Troy Cate had a pretty good rookie showing last season), and call that a "gutted" system, you have serious problems. Overall, this farm system obsession is disturbing. The main goal is to win Major League games, and Bavasi is one of the worst in history at doing that. You don't hire a head chef if his only specialty is keeping the reefers stocked with fresh food. Especially if he delegates that part out as well.

Posted by Bryant

10:13 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Am I the only one here who thinks this is non-sense. Bedard has never won more than 15 games in his career he is 29, and he would cost us our most talented Outfield prospect, along with Morrow who could easily amount to being better than Bedard in the future, and then Balentien.

So a very stocked outfield suddenly becomes thin?

I am not foremptying our farm for this guy. If you can do it without Jones then fine. But why trade our top prospect for a guy who is only going to dominate (if he does dominate) for about 2 more years.

Posted by Matthew

10:31 PM, Dec 04, 2007

hey Bryant,

I was brought over to this article as a general interest in where our Ace would land up, as MLBTradeRumors is saying 12 teams are involved trying to trade for Bedard and I saw your comment about Bedard never winning more than 15 games.

The thing about Bedard is that he's a really bright diamond trying to shine through fifty thousand layers of crap. The Orioles are horrible, absolutely horrible on offense and are in the midst of a 10 year losing streak.

Bedard was considered the top Cy-Young canidate last year when he led the League in Strikeouts by over twenty, was in the top three in all categories but he was hurt and pulled for the last two months of the season. And even with being out for the last two season, he still ranked high up on the list in baseball statistics, the only thing that is wrong with him is his "Win" Column because he plays for a below average baseball team. Most of his no-decisions last year came from 0-0, 1-1 score late in the seventh/eigth inning. You put an offense around him and he'll shine and pull through, but using the fault that he has never won 15 games is a horrible way to piss on a guys career.

ESPN/Rotoworld and most Baseball analysist sites out there list him as the Poor-man's Santana, and it's for a good reason.

Posted by Lance

10:48 PM, Dec 04, 2007

I actually wouldn't mind Capuano, provided he's not too expensive. He had a nice 2006. He's a good pitcher who may have just gotten some bad breaks in 2007. Bad record, but like they say, what doesn't kill you can make you better. Pitching in Safeco and with Stottlemyre's help he could get back to his '06 form.
Earlier I said I wouldn't want Edwin Jackson for anyone, but Cha Seung Baek. But, I'll amend that a bit. Mike Morse and Cha Seung Baek for Jackson. That would be intruiging, two guys who are out of options for one starter out of options. Would be interesting to see how that one shakes out.
Morrow and Sherrill for Bedard? I wouldn't include either in a deal for the Canadian. By 2007 season's end Morrow alone is going to be better than Bedard. I hope the scouts are letting Bavasi know that.

Posted by Lance

10:53 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Of course, I meant by 2008 season's end.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:05 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Bryant-I agree with you. Bedard is masquerading as a frontline pitcher, he's got Jon Garland stuff and he's basically Kevin Millwood from 1999. Millwood had a career year and never sustained that success. The O's are selling high as they know Erik had a career year. Bill Bavasi is trying hard to deal our best home run power hitting prospect in the system in Wlad Balentien, and our #5 starter first round pick for a mirage. This has Bavasi written all over it. Sometimes I do wonder if Bavasi has morphed the franchise into an American Academy that gives away impact prospects to other teams for veterans. Santana was worth giving up a Jones for, not Bedard. He is not going to develop anymore at 29, he is what he is. A low 90's fastball pitcher that uses the curveball as his out pitch. Bedard is not in the same class as Santana, not even close.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:11 PM, Dec 04, 2007

You deal Wlad and we get Jenkins who has played his entire career in the N.L. He will be worse than Carl Everett's bat in the line-up with a .331 OBP and .255 average. And he will be Raul Ibanez range in the corner. Great thinking Bavasi!

Posted by Merrill

11:59 PM, Dec 04, 2007

Ah, good fun catching up on you folks' comments on Father's Day/the King's Birthday (an off day) here in Thailand.

Adam, thanks for explaining your thinking about Guillen and the three-year contract. I understand your comments now.

Adam and David, thanks for correcting me on the "40th round" pick comment. That's what I get for being lazy...

Tyler, if you'd been paying attention, you'd have known that Geoff was getting most of his info from his contacts employed in MLB, as he told us a few days ago...

I actually agree with Garry about the farm thing, and with bltailor about farm cycles. I don't think Garry was referring to the guys who've come up in the past four years, but rather all those "can't-miss" pitching prospects I used to dream about being the foundation of an M's dynasty, all of whom missed.

Ryan Anderson. Clint Nageotte (still a chance there?).

I can't remember all the names now, but there were a lot of them, and it's just our luck (and yes, I call it luck) that the only ones still pitching are the ones that got traded (Fuentes, the lefty Aussie whose name I forget, ah yes, Thornton).

That's why I don't really care about losing a draft pick over Guillen. But I still think you're right, Adam, that it seems senseless.

To whomever made that comment about HoRam not having major-league stuff/talent or not being a legit ML pitcher, I just wonder: Can YOU throw a 95-mph fastball? Any guy that throws mid-90s heat (and I got this info from reading this paper) is either an ML pitcher or one in-waiting. His problem is his head, not his talent. Maybe that's where Yakima Mel comes in...

Mr. X, in my opinion, Green is up-and-coming, and almost no guys who are in their first year or two of pitching have good numbers. Look at Rowland-Smith, who was plus-five ERA most of the year yet highly regarded. (yeah, yeah, throws hard, but often guys who don't throw hard actually learn to ptich better.) I think he (Green) tired toward the end of this past year, and will be better for longer this coming year. I think we M's fans have been a little spoiled by our outstanding relievers and their early success in the last several years. O'Flaherty, Morrow, Sherrill (here's hoping they don't trade him!), and Putz have all been uncharacteristically good uncharateristically quickly. Even Sean White appears to have been well worth the risk of keeping him on the roster all season.

By the way, care to share any more details about the formerly prominent blog-poster/resume posting fiasco? That does sound "both hilarious and embarrassing," as you put it.

Posted by Mr. X

6:46 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Merrill, I'll give you a hint: "demilitarized zone"

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