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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 11:32 PM

M's odds increasing on Bedard

Posted by Geoff Baker


The crew from ESPN's Baseball Tonight show, pictured above, has just finished up their final tapings of the night. That's analyst Steve Phillips watching in the far right corner, off-camera. Lots to talk about today, especially that blockbuster deal that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Marlins to the Detroit Tigers for six young prospects.

But some more interesting developments on the trade front for the Mariners now sees them as potentially the frontrunners in the bidding for Baltimore Orioles starter Erik Bedard. I say "potentially" because it's still very early in the process. The idea of a frontrunner can come and go quicky down here and remember -- this isn't necessarily a race that anyone's going to win.

Baltimore GM Andy MacPhail has let it be known he wasn't at all impressed by the initial round of offers sent his way. The Los Angeles Dodgers did not put forth as aggressive a deal as first thought -- one that was supposed to include hard-throwing set-up man Jonathan Broxton (to be the O's closer for now) and outfielder Matt Kemp.

This story tonight, in the Los Angeles Daily News, summarizes what Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has been telling reporters all night who've passed by him in the hotel lobbies here.

"I'm not interested in trading Broxton,'' he said.

Very interesting. That leaves the Mariners as a team that's been described by at least one Baltimore official as "the best fit" for a trade. As I said, that could change. But it's pretty clear the Orioles are looking for a package that includes outfielder Adam Jones, pitcher Brandon Morrow and possibly another relief arm or a bat like Wladimir Balentien.

The O's are said to be higher on Balentien than on Jeff Clement, since they are stocked with catchers in the minors. They also aren't all that convinced Clement is going to be the real deal in the majors.

At this stage, it's unclear exactly who the Mariners have offered and whether or not that includes Jones. George Sherrill's name was a hot one in late-night rumors, but the Orioles already have a top southpaw reliever in Jamie Walker and are more in-need -- as we said -- of an eighth inning set-up man.

Now, I know, we've talked long and hard on this blog about whether Sherrill should have been the set-up man in the eighth inning for Seattle this past season. He was against lefty hitters, but rarely against righties. It remains to be seen whether he would be as effective against both over an entire season. We asked GM Bill Bavasi earlier tonight whether Sherrill was drawing interest from other clubs.

Bavasi's reply was that Sherrill has drawn interest every year since he joined the big league club. No, not very helpful in that regard.

Perhaps the Orioles would take a chance that Sherrill could handle their eighth inning needs over someone like, say, Sean Green. But that's just me guessing. In the end, the M's will have to come up with some type of package that pleases the O's -- and Jones and Morrow would appear to be the two keys.

Tomorrow's edition of the Baltimore Sun has this quote from GM MacPhail: "We think we have a pretty good understanding of what is equitable for certain guys, and when we get there, great. Until we get there, we'll stay where we are. It's a really simple equation.''

In other words, he'll be trying to wrangle more out of the M's and Dodgers (and Mets, Reds, Blue Jays and whoever else wants in) or else threaten to take Bedard and go on home.

So, that's it for now. I can tell you the Mariners appear to be salivating over the chance to land Bedard. They also appear to have a better-than-decent shot at getting him.

As for free-agent starter Hiroki Kuroda, he's going to visit a bunch of cities next week, Seattle being one of them. Kuroda has three offers of three years apiece in his hands from the Mariners, Dodgers and Diamondbacks. I asked Bavasi tonight whether he'd increased any of his initial offers to free agents (not naming names) and he replied: ""We haven't formally done that but we'll be in that process now,'' he said. "It's right about now that we get in that process.''

It's late and I'm going to get going now. There are other rumors involving the M's we haven't touched on here, but the ones I'm talking about now have the potential to have the biggest impact. Yes, the M's will have to find another outfielder if they trade Jones. Yes, they talked to the agent for Geoff Jenkins today. A lot of talk. We could start seeing action in the next day or two.

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Posted by byebyeIbanez

11:44 PM, Dec 04, 2007

awwww very nice Geoff. You get some rest and get back at it tomorrow, lol, we need you!

Hmmmm, I really hope, as I've said on here a lot lately, that the Mariners don't up the offer for Kuroda. If we can land Bedard without doing anything crazy like giving up our 3 top guys (Jones, Morrow, Balentien) or 4 guys then I'm probably happy as much as it will hurt to lose any of them. I'm really a huge fan of Jones and Morrow as well and really want to watch them develop and become stars as Mariners. However, if they are dealt, rest assured I will follow their careers closely no matter what team they are on. As long as they aren't Yankees, I will even cheer for them.
On the outfielder news, pleaaaaaase stay away from Erstad *pleading voice*. Jenkins might be ok but I'd rather just go with either Jones or Balentien whomever isn't dealt.

Posted by Lance

11:51 PM, Dec 04, 2007

M's brass may be salavating over Bedard, but I'm not. Not if it means giving up Brandon Morrow, anyway. I wouldn't deal Morrow for anyone not named Johan.
That would break up my dream M's rotation, a rotation that in a short time, say three years, could compete with anyone's, including Boston, the Yankees, or Angels:
1. Felix Hernandez
2. Brandon Morrow
3. Phillippe Aumont
4. Chris Tillman
5. Tony Butler
That's the kind of rotation that can take you all the way, a few times, or at least have you in the hunt every year. Bedard is nothing more than an annual patch job.
Have we been drafting pitchers in the first round just to trade them off for some guy who has had a decent year or two, but is continually hurt? I hope not!

Posted by ChrisP

12:21 AM, Dec 05, 2007

I love this time of year, let's just hope we get some stud pitching help and not just a Jackson or Loshe. Felix, Bedard, Batista, Kuroda, Washburn....I like the sounds of that. We would have some guys who could eat lots of innings and really give our pen a break. We would walk on the field all 5 days feeling like we could and should win the game. I keep thinking about all the young guns we used to be afraid to trade because they were our future. Instead of getting proven major league studs we wound up with a bunch of walking wounded players who never had success above AAA. Let's roll the dice and get this team back where it belongs. We built a park that is built for pitching and defense. Horam, Weaver and those types don't due us any good. I hope Bavasi has the nutz to make the big move this year instead of having to pay 8.5 million for a 6+ ERA starter.

Posted by Zach C

12:53 AM, Dec 05, 2007

I don't know if I like this or not, Marrow WAS our 8th inning guy last year. Who will pick it up if Lowe's elbow can't take it? We only have soo much money we can spend, half at least going to Kuroda if that gets done...and I really don't like Jenkins, or any fillerOF for that matter, instead of Jones (we've been talking about this kid for a long time and I want to see him grow as a Mariner).Our FO's decision to let Jose go is already comming back to haunt us...BAVASI! But, the potential for a Bedard+Hernandez is really sounding good.

Posted by k0o56

1:08 AM, Dec 05, 2007

I'm torn here. I really do like our young core of upcoming stars, but we desperately need pitching and it seems like the team is feeling a "need" to create some sort of splash move. In away, I do, too.

Geoff, do you think that the Mariners might hold the trigger until talks between the Cubs and Roberts heat up a little more so that they can throw in Lopez [who has been made available] instead of one of the other youngsters? I like Lopez and all, but our outfield is thinning out and Morrow could grow into a future Bedard.

Posted by Dart

1:20 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Great post Geoff. I think the Mariners should definitely go after Bedard. He's been a good starting pitcher for 4 years and he's been getting better every year.

Even if the Mariners had to trade Jones, Balentin and Morrow to get Bedard, I'd be OK with that.

The truth of the matter is that neither Jones, Balentin or Morrow are proven at the major league level at the positions they are penciled into for next year. As for Jones, I'm not convinced that he can make the jump for AAA to the majors. There are many players who just can't make that jump. The same goes for Morrow. I think he did a good job in relief last year, but who's to say that means he'll be a good starting pitcher? I'd much rather go with a known quantity (Bedard)

As for Kuroda, I'm cautiously optimistic. Japanese pitchers tend to be able to make the leap to the Majors. Hideki Okajima was absolutely phenomenal last year and Matsuzaka was adequate. Saito of the Dodgers is good and the Mariners have had some really good Japanese pitchers as well (Sasaki and Hasegawa).

If the Mariners have a starting rotation of Bedard, Hernandez, Batista, Washburn and Kuroda, I'd be happy with that!

And Bill Bavasi why did you let Jose Guillen go? Big mistake. If the Mariners win, it'll be in spite of Bavasi not because of him.

Posted by Chris B

4:47 AM, Dec 05, 2007

I don't know if I agree that Bedard is nothing more than an annual patch job.
#1 in the majors in K/9, #1 in a stat used at called K/100 pitches (to measure efficiency), 4-1 K/BB ratio which is pretty good, more of a groundballer than flyballer. Just an all around good pitcher.

Plus him and Aumont can speak French to each other in spring training.

Posted by Simon

5:16 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Wow! What a trade by Detroit! I love that Cabrera isn't going to the Angels, quite the bullet dodge there.
I think I'm in on Bedard. Strikeout lefties nearing their prime are worth trading for. The cost sounds really high, but so is the return to the fans. When either Felix or Bedard make their starts, as a fan ,you know if you go to game you'll see lots of K's maybe the chance at a no-no.

Posted by wrmike

5:37 AM, Dec 05, 2007

I am not really OK with including Morrow in the trade for Bedard. I just think that in two or three years Morrow will be close to where Bedard is now and being five years younger, Morrow will have a huge upside. I like Clement's future over Jones, but we will be an outfielder short if Jones goes. What will the outfield look like then? Ibanez in left, Ichiro in center, and Balentin in right? No fourth outfielder and no back-up centerfielder available.

Posted by Chris B

6:14 AM, Dec 05, 2007

But the difference between Morrow is that we can only THINK that he will be where Bedard is now. Whereas we KNOW that Bedard is where he is now. Bottom line for me is that Bedard is proven, Morrow is still very raw. I don't know if I agree with trading both Jones AND Morrow. If somehow we could get it done with Morrow, Wlad, (Any non-Putz reliever) (other prospect - Tui maybe? Clement?), I would jump at it.

Posted by ricofoy

6:20 AM, Dec 05, 2007

If the M's hope to have any chance of competing this year they have to get Bedard.That would put the M's starting rotation right there with the Angels. Then use the money they are going to blow on Kuruda and do what it takes to sign Fukudome to play right.

Posted by ricofoy

6:25 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Here's Bedard's statline against the Yankees last year - the best hitting team in baseball.
21 innings, 11 hits, 3 runs, 21 K's, 3 bb's.
Yes, I would make that trade in a NY minute.

Posted by eastcoast

6:28 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Wow, the gap between the AL and NL just continues to widen with that Marlins-Tigers deal. (Sarcasm to follow) Now all we have to deal with is the Tigers (Cabrera and Willis added to an already potent lineup), the Indians (CC, Fausto, and several up and coming players), Red Sox nation (Beckett, possibly Johan, and Schilling), oh yeah... and then the Yanks and their $200 billion payroll. So, unless I'm overstating something, it would seem that the best chance for the M's to reach the playoffs would be winning the division. Which means we have to beat out the Angels and Escobar, while figuring out how to score a single run off of Lackey and hold Vlad to something under .500 AVG (end of sarcasm).

That being said, I feel the Angels are beatable assuming some changes. Our SP needs to be upgraded significantly (escept for the 1 game by Batista and Felix), they were knocked around at will. Adding Bedard would certainly be nice, but I'll admit that even I'm getting nervous about the amount of talent will probably have to give up to get him (Rumors being Jones AND Balentien, or Morrow +/- Sherrill)- Yikes! mentions Ibanez to the Cubs for Sean Marshall. Well, I wasn't high on Cliff Lee for Ibanez, but I think I would take Marshall. Only 25 y/o, a lefty, with good stuff. If we were to make both those moves, I wonder if Washburn would be dealt?? Anyway, Felix (21), Bedard (28), Batista, Marshall (25), 5th starter would give us a good shot at the Halos.

Posted by Bruce

6:29 AM, Dec 05, 2007

How did Detroit get Willis and Cabrera by giving up two blue chips (Miller, ERA 5.69 and Maybin, .143 during a short stint with the Tigers) plus 4 other average players? And we're talking about giving up Morrow, Jones and Wlad for Bedard. Does this sound like a good deal?

Posted by Shawn

6:39 AM, Dec 05, 2007

After four years in college and two years of professional ball, Morrow has yet to find command of the strike zone and who knows if he ever will. There are more who do not than who do. Bedard has big-league command and stuff. Easy decision on that front and since Bavasi is still trying to keep his gig, this makes the team better right away. Besides, I'll take my chances with Bedard's injury past (he's hardly Ben Sheets) for a chance at a one-two punch of him and Hernandez.

Posted by byebyeSexson

7:16 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Some guys on here are decisive, but many sound like they would outdo Bavasi. "I'd like a great starter or two but I was looking forward to watching the career of (fill in the blank)so let's not give up too many prospects." I too have some of those feelings, but we must have one or two more very good starters and will have to pay the piper to get them.
Go M's. Go Richie...

Posted by Adam

7:33 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Bruce - The Tigers were able to make that deal because Miller is a better prospect that Morrow, and the four other players are better than you think.

Lance - Yesterday you said "Bedard is no ace," and that Morrow would be as good as Bedard within a year. Today you say Bedard is nothing more than a patch job. Are you insane? Bedard may be the best starter in the AL this side of Santana. You are way off in your assessment of him.

Dart - no, we don't know how Jones will do in the majors, but we also didn't know how A-Rod, or Pujols, or Jeter would do in the majors, either. You can look at minor-league stats and predict with some sense of reliability how that player will do in the bigs.

I posted this a couple of times earlier this year, but Jones' minor-league numbers were better than Hunter Pence, Troy Tulowitzki, Chris Young, Josh Fields and just about any other rookie not named Ryan Braun. Further, Jones' first 70 ABs weren't any worse than most of those players, excepting Braun, who got hot quick.

Further, Jones is easily the superior prospect to Clement. DEFENSE MATTERS, PEOPLE. Clement is a below-average catcher. If he has to become a 1B or DH, a lot of his value is out the window. A good hitting catcher is much more valuable than a good hitting DH. Jones, on the other hand, shows plus power, plus baserunning, AND plus defense. He's got the chance to be a perennial all-star.

Most old-timers on this board know of my man-crush for Jones, so they'll be less than surprised when I say I probably don't trade for Jones. I have some concern about Bedard's injury history, although I think it's a bit overblown, and I wonder if he re-signs with us in two years. But I also don't think that we are one Eric Bedard away from contending. Especially if we give up Jones and are forced to run out a sub-par defensive outfield again.

No to Bedard, even though he is an absolute stud.

Posted by Adam

7:42 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Lance - you need to sit down and look at Bedard's numbers. Yesterday or Monday you said he's "not an ace." You said Morrow would be better than Bedard within a year. Now you call Bedard a "patch job." Are you insane? Bedard is the best pitcher in the AL this side of Santana. He's a fantastic talent.

Dart - no, we can't know for sure how Jones will pan out, but you can say that for every single young talent who has ever played the game, and that hasn't stopped teams from trading or keeping prospects. Minor league numbers do have predictive qualities - based on his numbers, Jones has a much more likely shot at succeeding in the bigs than other prospects who didn't have as distinguished numbers. Also, I posted this earlier this year, but Jones' minor-league numbers were better than any rookie not named Ryan Braun. That includes Tulowitzki, Young, Fields, everybody.

Now, most know of my man-crush for Jones. He's got the chance to be a perennial all-star. And he's a better prospect than Clement - easily. DEFENSE MATTERS! If Clement can't cut it behind the plate (which may very well happen), he loses a lot of value as a player. Catchers with big bats are much harder to find than DHs with the same bats. Jones, on the other hand, has a plus bat, plus baserunning, and plus defense. In Safeco, that defense is vital.

So Jones is the better prospect, and for that reason I hesitate to include him in a deal for Bedard. I also don't think this team is one Eric Bedard away from matching up with the Angels. Especially if we have to go back to the horrible OF defense we had last year.

So, as much of a stud as he is, no to Eric Bedard.

Posted by faithful

7:46 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Giving up Jones and Morrow for Bedard doesn't make sense. Morrow will match Bedard and surpass him in a year or two and Jones is an everyday player. Bavasi needs to think ahead.

Posted by Adam

7:50 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Morrow will match Bedard and surpass him in a year or two

You are telling us that Morrow will be one of the top three or four starters in the AL in one or two years?

Please stop this nonsense.

Posted by Mr. X

8:14 AM, Dec 05, 2007

I'm not as high on Jones, but I do think he may make an All-Star team in the future. Considering that about 7 outfielders make each team every year, he has a decent chance at it. I'm not sure if there are 7 true top aces in the AL right now. If there are, I'd still argue that a #1 starter is more important than hoping that Jones will become a "perennial all star outfielder", which I think is an overstatement. That would put him in the ranks of Manny, Vlad, and Ordonez. (And others that make it primarily through fan voting). Since 2001, only 4 players have 4 or more AL All-Star appearances, and Jones will not be in their league. I'm not even sure that he'll be as good as Damon, Wells, Rios, or Matsui, who made the All-Star team only twice (so far). I'd take a Josh Beckett or Johan Santana over a 4 outfielder rotation of all of those guys. Give me an "every 5 day stopper" any day of the week. They are harder to come by than all-star outfielders.

Posted by David

8:19 AM, Dec 05, 2007

hey since there are so much talk linking the M's and Bedard, anyone think it's possible for following trade?

Jones, Morrow, a relief pitcher, and a 4th prospect or Lopez for Bedard and Tejada.

then shift Betancourt to 2nd base, put Balentine in right field.

Posted by Dan in B-more, hon.

8:38 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Hello from Baltimore.

Whoever gets Bedard will be very, very happy with him. He's an absolute stud -- it's too bad Angelos has destroyed the O's, he'd be a great franchise starter to sign to a long-term deal. Unfortunately, we're in rebuild mode; hopefully, we can get some major pieces by dealing him.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

8:39 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Rico-A lot of pitchers have success specifically against one team. I understand the excitement over Bedard, he had an outstanding season. Frontline starters are hard to come by.... One season however doesn't make one an established ace. There is risk we are giving up a player that can become an elite Manny Ramirez type player not just an above average All-Star for a picher a team with money is dying to get rid of. There's a reason for that. The O's are a larger market and have more revenue than the Twins. The M's don't necessarily need to beat the Yankees in order to win a title. They need to beat the Angels this year. I can't emphasize enough how much of Geoff Jenkins is going to fail against superior A.L. pitching. Think Sexson in right field with half the power. Do we really need 2 Sexson's in the line-up everyday? Also the bashing of prospects by Gary has no foundation to it. Did we not see Ibanez, A-Rod, Griffey, Edgar, develop into stars to see that even today's superstars like Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Joba Chamberlin, Fausto Carmona, Ryan Howard,and countless others come from team's farm systems?

Posted by ricofoy

8:43 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Tejada is a SS in name only - to move Betancourt for him would be the height of insanity. Plus I wouldn't be suprised at all to see him on the Mitchell report. I wanted Miggy 4 years ago - now I wouldn't touch him.

Posted by Lance

8:50 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Adam, something isn't non-sense simply because you don't agree with it. No one is saying Morrow is going to be among the top three or four starters in the AL. But, it's not non-sense to think he will be among the top three or four #2 guys. You've really been drinking up that Erik Bedard cool-aid. He's not what you think he is.
Bedard has had one or two good years, depending on your definition of good, and you're ready to anoint him as among the top three or four pitchers in the league. He's nothing of the sort. Top ten, yes. Top three or four, hardly. He's had two years that can be best described as above average years, '06 and '07. That hardly makes up a career. Let him do it for a few years before you speak of him in such glowing terms, if he can.
He hasn't pitched in a game since August 26th. Granted, it wasn't due to an arm injury. But, this guy has had quite the history of various ailments. Staying healthy is not one of his skills.
You seem to be enamored by his strikeout ratio. But, lots of strikeouts mean lots of pitches. More risk that that arm is going to hurt again, and soon fall apart altogether, ala Freddie Garcia. Some other nice 2007 stats, as well, but it's only one year.
I'm not saying he's not talented. But, I wouldn't put him among the AL elite yet. There's a reason Baltimore is willing to talk trade about him. He may not be damaged goods right now. However, I wouldn't feel comfortable with the guy. Why aren't they trying to sign him to a long term contract, rather than talking about trading him? What do they know that we don't?
Bottom line, I'd rather hang onto Morrow for a year and see what we've got in the guy. He showed me a lot last year. Frankly, I wouldn't include Chris Tillman in a Bedard deal, either. Keep Morrow and Tillman, and I'd be fine trading for him. But, he's yet to establish himself as an ace. He's just the Orioles #1 pitcher. That's not saying a lot.

Posted by -k

9:03 AM, Dec 05, 2007

David - No, wont happen. To get both Tejada and Bedard we would have to give up more then we actually have. Baltimore can get our best 3 prospects for Bedard, and then 3 equally good prospects from the Angels for Tejada. Once our top 3 go for Bedard, we wont have anything left to temp them with for Tejada.

Adam - I'm still interested in your opinion of me equating Jones to Jose Cruz Jr. both had MONSTER stats in Tacoma. Plus defense and power. Both also had a tenancy to strike out too much and didn't take enough walks. Cruz's career BA is under .240 and has been around .225 most years. I saw Cruz play in Tacoma, and have seen Jones play as well. I feel the comparison is valid. This is why i think we should trade him now while he has the most value.

Posted by ricofoy

9:03 AM, Dec 05, 2007

When the M's win the division and face the wild card Yankees in the 1st round,it will be nice to know you have a guy who dominates them. LOL
Resin and Adam - I know where you're coming from. AJ could become one of the most exciting players in the game - I would hate to see him go.
But a starting twosome of Bedard and Felix would be tough to beat. I wouldn't touch Jenkins with a 10 foot pole but how about making a run at Josh Hamilton for RF?

Posted by usesomelogic

9:05 AM, Dec 05, 2007


Any chance the Orioles would take a package of Jones, Balentein, Sherril and a lower level prospect like Rowland-Smith?

I'd like to hold on to Morrow becuase he does have the potential to be a top of the rotation pitcher.

If you could make that happen, and if Morrow pans out (I know a lot of "ifs") you could potentially have the best 1-2-3 punch in MLB in two or three years.

However if Morrow is the deal breaker I'd still make the deal. When you have a chance to pick up a #1 starter you don't pass that up. They're too hard to find in free agency and difficult to build from within.

Posted by kharry

9:06 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Brandon Morrow has ONE pitch! C'mon. I'm really not all that high on him. What's non-sense is saying he'll be better than Bedard in a couple of years. Show me some control and three major league quality pitches and then Morrow will have a chance to be as good. Until then it's non-sense and wishful thinking.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

9:14 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Haven't read today's post yet but just wanted to send a fanboy shout-out, since I perked up when I heard Geoff being mentioned as a source on XM radio. Your news on Bedard was mentioned on their hot stove program just now...

Posted by Mike

9:16 AM, Dec 05, 2007

I don't get the Morrow love. Yes, he has a heck of a fastball that he really can't control yet and no other major league quality pitch. IF he develops another pitch or two AND can harness his fastball (it will lose a few mph if he's starting) he can be very good. His upside is high. But Adam Jones in much closer to fulfilling his potential than is Morrow at this point. Right now Morrow as a #2 quality major league starter is a big projection.

Posted by -k

9:16 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Whatever happened to the Ibanez for Cliff Lee rumors? I still think that make a lot of since for the Mariners right now. Lee is younger and comming off a down year so his value is lower. His stuff is still above average, and his ERA+ has been over a hundred every year he's been in the major besided last year. He eats inning and is a serious upgrade over HoRam and Weaver. Plus Ibanez is a defensive liability. I say do it, trade for Bedard, and either get out of the Kuroda race or sign him and trade Washburn. Why not give Morse a shot at playing LF. Pitching and defense wins over offense, so the trade makes sense to me.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

9:25 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Ok, now I read it. Bedard is interesting, even for the going (AJ/morrow/+1 other) price. But my question is, who would play right?

And I phrase that very carefully - I didn't say "who would replace AJ", as I don't want to get into yet another Free Adam Jones talk. :)

I'm saying who would play right overall? Is there someone who would provide adequate defense and/or power #s? Especially if this deal takes both Aj and Balentien to get it done? If we improve the pitching through getting Bedard, but don't have at least as good defense and/or offense from the corner outfield, then it's a bit of a wash. Possibly even a negative.

Also, we seem to have some minimal bullpen depth. A strong starting rotation and a successful application of the "go 7 innings+" that Stottlemyre wants, and we may actually have some bullpen folks to deal. The only true weak link in the newly powerhouse Tigers is the bullpen. Any chance of say Sherrill, Green or White for whoever is settling out to be the Tigers' 6th starter (Robertson, or Zumaya)?

Posted by eastcoast

9:25 AM, Dec 05, 2007

I live in Virginia and get to see all the O's games. lance - Bedard was that good last year. He throws a mid 90's fastball and has a devastating "buckle your knees" curve ball. True, however, he has only done this one year (unlike Santana and Haren being consistent over several years). But, saying Morrow will be a TOR guy in a few years is a huge stretch. He throws one pitch, and can't even find the strikezone with that half of the time. He has potential, but he is a project in the making, and several seasons away from being a quality starter (at the least).

Posted by PhilF

9:27 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Orioles fan here. I don't believe this deal will get done because I think MacPhail is holding out for more than the Mariners can offer. Wouldn't surprise me to see Bedard as the OD starter for Baltimore. Personally I am conflicted about that. There would not even be talk about letting go of him if this franchise were not so deleted of talent.

I see Bedard being somewhat undersold in some posts here. He was a good pitcher in 05 and 06 and a great pitcher in 07-- during one stretch, beyond great. Something like a .70 WHIP over his last 12 starts before he went down.

I don't know what to make of the injury thing. He has already had his TJ year. Everything else has been non-arm stuff. Is he any more of a risk than any other pitcher? I honestly don't know.

My own take on the Mainers' material in this trade:

Jones is an absolute stud, anybody would want him. Successfully making the jump to AA at age 19, can't beat that. Everybody else is a question mark to some extent. Clement will be a Varitek-level hitter in the majors but if his defense is sub-par as some have suggested, that reduces his value at that position. Balentien has good power but strikes out way too much -- a younger Willie Mo Pena. Morrow has great stuff but still has shaky command despite four years of college and two years in pro ball.

I don't know-- there are risks any time you make a deal.

Posted by scrapiron

9:46 AM, Dec 05, 2007

The reason Bedard is available is because when he struggles he won't take instruction and is considered "uncoachable." Hopefully Stottlemyre can get through to him.

The second reason Bedard is available is that MacPhail sees the market for pitching as sky high and figures he can make a mega-deal now. However, MacPhail has made players available for trade before to test the waters, only to pull them back when he wasn't "blown away." If MacPhail isn't blown away in an offer for Bedard now he just might keep him. He's got all the leverage and has Bedard signed for the next two years. So if the Mariners want Bedard, they'll have to overpay.

Posted by scrapiron

9:50 AM, Dec 05, 2007

The Kuroda deal is starting to scare me. The Mariners have offered 3 years, $30 million, and he still has 3 other teams offering the same. That seems like a fair offer. Now the M's will have to up their offer to get him. I like Kuroda, but he is unproven in the U.S.

Couldn't the Mariners get Bartolo Colon for 3 years, $30 million? (Providing there is a weight clause in the contract)

Posted by Adam

9:56 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Lance - I really don't know what else to say to you. Yes, he's only had two good years. You of course fail to mention that those two years make up HALF of his career.

But those years happen to be the last two years, AND his 2007 season compares well with any pitcher in the game. His peripherals (which show repeatable skills) demonstrate that he's not a fluke. He misses bats, doesn't walk batters, and he makes them hit the ball on the ground. How can you possibly argue that a guy whose last two years are arguably among the best in baseball isn't an ace? That's ridiculous, and I stand by my assertion that he's as good as any starter in the AL not named Santana.

Further, since when does a top-five #2 starter = a legit ace? You said that Morrow, within a year, would be better than Bedard. Now you are backtracking? Come on, man. I like Morrow. I think he never should have been in a Mariner uniform last year, and that the M's pushed back his development. He needs it. He's got one plus pitch at the moment, but he can't even control it. He's nowhere near Bedard, and honestly, likely will never be. Because that would mean he becomes a legit, top-5 ace.

-k - Using the comparison to Jose Cruz is fair, although Cruz was two years older when he was in the minors. But having strikeout problems isn't a unique problem. Lots of hitters do. Ryan Braun struck out at very similar rate to Jones in the minors. So did Chris Young and Delmon Young. And again, Jones is still 22. He'll be ok.

Posted by Lance

10:02 AM, Dec 05, 2007

I read where the Mets offered pitchers Aaron Heilman, Phillip Humber, and young OF Carlos Gomez for Bedard. If MacPhail doesn't jump at that he's crazy, if in fact that was the offer. Bedard's probably at the his highest market value now. He's a FA in two years, and there's rumblings he really doesn't want a long-term deal with the O's. So, next winter he's just the next Johan Santana contractwise, just not as good.

Posted by Gordy

10:04 AM, Dec 05, 2007

I really wan't Berdard, but I keep wondering
why the O's are willing to part with him.
They could wait and see how their season goes
and stil trade him at the deadline or next offseason since (if I am not mistaken) he is under contract for 2 more years.

Can someone please enlighten me?

Posted by achan

10:04 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Bedard is too much of a risk and he's not young enough where you can expect a significant improvement. He's only had 1 good year and a 1 really good year and he's never pitched over 200 innings in a season.

Posted by Donovan

10:05 AM, Dec 05, 2007

It's interesting to me how split posters here are between saying on the one hand how much they want the M's to hold onto their top prospects and let them develop, and on the other hand how disappointed they are going to be if Bavasi doesn't pull of a big trade this week. There are actually a few posts that say both. Well, we can't have it both ways. Either we cash in '08 in April and watch the kids develop while the Angels cruse to a 15 game lead by July, or we give up the goods for decent pitching. There is no middle ground here.

Really, Bavasi doesn't have a choice. This isn't about risk. Any decision you make has uncontrollable risk. This is a business decision. He has to trade some blue chip prospects away. Some bloggers here may be willing to rebuild for 2 to 3 more years, but you are in an extreme minority of fans. The natives in the NW are restless and so is management. Too much money has been spent to tolerate another lost season. The M's have to go for it this year, or it will cost them a lot more money down the road. I think there has to be a big pitcher signing, if not two, and the price in dollars and prospects is going to shock some.

Established pitchers are worth 2 to 3 top prospects. That is their market value, no matter what anybody thinks. You don't need prospects to win a pennant, but you absolutely need good pitching. That's just the way it is.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

10:09 AM, Dec 05, 2007

"You don't need prospects to win a pennant, but you absolutely need good pitching."

Donovan, I think you officially win the thread today. :)

Posted by Adam

10:09 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Some bloggers here may be willing to rebuild for 2 to 3 more years, but you are in an extreme minority of fans. The natives in the NW are restless and so is management. Too much money has been spent to tolerate another lost season. The M's have to go for it this year, or it will cost them a lot more money down the road. I think there has to be a big pitcher signing, if not two, and the price in dollars and prospects is going to shock some.

Meanwhile, whomever the M's acquire will not be enough to help them overtake the Sox, Yankees, Tigers, and Indians, and when the depleted farm system fails to add impact players, the losing will continue regardless. Management won't care either way, because they make plenty of money.

The natives in the NW are wrong.

Posted by gord

10:13 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Sorry, it was the first time I've ever posted

Posted by Adam

10:17 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Established pitchers are worth 2 to 3 top prospects. That is their market value, no matter what anybody thinks. You don't need prospects to win a pennant, but you absolutely need good pitching. That's just the way it is.

So why have the Yankees and Red Sox both refused to offer two to three top prospects for Santana? Why are Joba Chamberlin and Clay Bucholtz untouchable?

Pitching is vital, no doubt, but teams understand the importance of keeping top prospects in house for as long as possible. Look at the final four teams in the playoffs - Arizona, Colorado, Cleveland, and Boston. All had HUGE contributions from rookies and young players from their own farm systems.

Posted by Donovan

10:35 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Adam - It remains to be seen what it will take to pry Santana out of MN. My earlier statement was intended to exclude top pitching prospects (i.e., Joba and Clay). You don't let those go for anything, precisely because of what real pitchers are worth. The Yankees have been excoriated by their fans for years for not developing any pitching in house and wasting huge money on no-show free agents. Now that they finally have some young arms, I don't expect them to part with them. We would never have offered up Felix. Jones and Wlad on the other hand, are easier to replace.

That being said, Morrow isn't in that category. I think the M's made a huge mistake keeping him in the pen last year, when he should have been in the minors learning some more pitches. It hurt his trade value frankly, no matter how well he pitched at times. He was seen as a promising starter in college. Now he's seen as a short-term reliever with control problems (forgivable in a young power pitcher), and no pitches after his unpredictable fastball (much more of a worry). As a SP prospect, he's a real project.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

10:37 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Adam - Because the Yankers and BoSox are bargaining from positions of strength. In the case of the BoSox, probably the most in all of baseball. So they can be more cautious about who they trade away. In the case of the BoSox, they have a contender now, and are looking to keep the farm system strong for years to come. I'd think the stages go - build farm system, build good team, keep good team, keep good farm system. The BoSox are at #4 in that. The M's are on the #2 side of between #1 and #2.

Posted by T

10:46 AM, Dec 05, 2007

I am in the get Bedard camp. I agree that Jones and Morrow are prospects, and we can't be sure of where they will end up. I do like the Jose Cruz comparison to AJ for where he is at right now. It seems like we have held on to too many "can't miss" prospects in the past (think the little unit) that haven't panned out. As a person that doesn't have season tickets currently, a Bedard/Felix combo gets me excited enough to sign up. Another year of "promise" just doesn't do it.

Posted by Lance

10:48 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Adam, the difference between you and I is that I see things changing and you believe everything's going to stay the same. I think Morrow's going to improve, really significantly, including his control. Being in a rotation, rather than continually coming out of the bullpen, often tired and overworked, alone will help that.
You also believe Bedard's going to just keep doing what he did last year. Maybe, but I have my concerns. What's he going to pull, strain, tear, or break next? He is about to hit 30. That's fine if a guy has a history of staying healthy. He does not.
I don't think he's a fluke. He's talented. But, so is Morrow. Yes, I can see Brandon passing Bedard by next season's end as a pitcher. Will it happen? Time will tell. If not then, then soon afterwards when he'll be 26 or 27 and Bedard's on someone's 60-day DL. I can live with that.
I'd like to see us getting an upgrade in the rotation like everyone else. But, I'm not for giving up Morrow for it, because I believe he is going to be a big part of that upgrade. Apparantly, you don't agree.
And, I'm not backtracking. That's just how you want to see things. If Brandon ends up a #2 to Felix's #1, it doesn't mean both can't be perceived as aces. It's all about perception, anyway.

Posted by Donovan

10:48 AM, Dec 05, 2007

One more thing - I agree completely with Adam that a mix of young and veteran players having great years is the best recipe for a playoff team. We already have youngsters starting in the middle of the infield. I think there is room for one rook in our OF. Two is a stretch, and I definitely don't see Adam, Wlad, and Clement all making the team. Clement obviously would be a bench player if he did.

I also note that 3 of the LCS teams last year had team ERAs in the top 7 in MLB. Colorado is the odd team out at 14, but they play at Coors Field.

Posted by byebyeIbanez

10:49 AM, Dec 05, 2007

All the Brandon Morrow love has really come out of nowhere but I understand it. He's got a lot of talent and he's really young, plus he's a good kid, got a good head on his shoulders. I know, I've talked with him. Personally, I like him a lot too but you can't ignore the fact that he still has a ways to go to become what Erik Bedard is and that is a bonafide #1. IMO, he's better than Santana. Santana often times gets caught falling in love with his fastball and can go through stretches where he doesn't dominate teams, rather, he looks like an average pitcher out there. Hence his year last year, very average. Is that a sign of things to come for him? Perhaps. Bedard is still a good year away from his pay day and will have to continue to play up to that high level to earn it, I think he is definitely worth the trading of Brandon Morrow and Wladimir Balentien as much as I like the both of them. However, I would really STRONGLY object to dealing Jones. I agree with a previous poster who said if we can get them to bite on any reliever not named J.J Putz then by all means, do that. Just don't trade Jones. We have the prospects to afford not to deal Jones and still get it done. Morrow, Balentien, Clement (even though they don't want him), Rowland-Smith, Butler, Tillman, Chin, Truinfel, Tui, Morse, Aumont. And btw, for the people that love Morrow and want to see him in the top our rotation in a year or two, we still have Aumont and Butler and Tillman. Aumont, IMO, is a stud and he's 18. Let's give him a year or two to grow and voila! Hernandez, Bedard, Aumont, Butler and Tillman. That's nasty!

Posted by Lance

10:59 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Adam, based on your 10:09 A.M. and 10:17 A.M. comments I'd think you'd be on my side on this. Instead, it's ok for the Red Sox to hold out Bucholz, and the Yankees Chamberlain from the Santana deal, but it's not ok for Seattle to hold out Morrow from the Bedard deal. That seems a bit inconsistant, or do you just think that little of Brandon Morrow? What's with that, good buddy?

Posted by byebyeIbanez

11:03 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Lance, I like Morrow too, but we have guys like Butler, Tillman and not to mention Aumont. If throwing in Morrow keeps us from having to deal Jones then I'm all for it. I just don't want both of them to go. I think you need to sit back and relax cuz even if we deal Morrow we're left with a few guys that have some REAL talent. And that emphasis isn't a swipe at Morrow in any way, it's just an emphasis rather than using the '!!!'

Posted by wrmike

11:19 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Aumont is being talked about already? Has he even pitch professionly yet? I didn't see him in tha Arizona Fall League stats.

Shouln't we wait to talk about Aumont yet? Any one elso remember the Little Unit?

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:25 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Bye, Bye- I'm not sure on Butler yet. I watched Aumont pitch last month in the World Cup and he looks a lot further along than I imagined. Aumont has been placed on the same level of Felix Hernandez by the best team scout in the organization.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:31 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Geoff, any truth to Yahoo's claim Jose Lopez is being shopped to the Giants?

I also read Sherril is being shopped. I just wanted to say we are going nowhere without Sherrill in the pen and relying on Sean Green. Sherrill and Putz are the heart of the pen. Don't count on Mark Lowe, and removing Morrow to be the #5th starter further weakens a very suspect thin pen from last year. Unless Lincecum is on the table I can't imagine what player Bavasi covets over there unless he still wants Omar Vizquel.

Posted by morrowfan

11:37 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Morrow has major league experience. Aumont, Tillman, etc. are still developing. Morrow has shown real potential in the winter league as a stater. Morrow should stay.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:41 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Morrow and Jones were reported earlier as part of the package to land Bedard on Yahoo Sports rumors.

Here's a link

Posted by gko

11:41 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Is the GM at the winter meetings?...first we need to sign a GM and then sign players...santana, bedard, haren..nothing the same thing every year...

Posted by Adam

11:44 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Lance - in the first place, I was making the point that teams value prospects enough to forego giving up two or three top prospects for an ace pitcher. Chamberlin and Bucholtz are the top prospects of the Yanks and Sox.

Second, Chamberlin and Bucholtz are superior prospects to Morrow. At least that's what the scouts say.

As for Bedard - the numbers speak for themselves. Sure, there is a legit concern about injuries, but it's not as if he's having elbow and shoulder troubles over and over again.

Further, of course I think Morrow will improve. The point is that he'll take longer to improve than you think. How long has Felix been with the big club? 2 1/2 years? And has he reached Bedard's level? Don't forget, he had MUCH more experience starting than Morrow does.

I get it that you value Morrow highly. That's not unjustified. But he's nowhere close to Bedard, nor will he be within 12 months. If I can get Bedard using Morrow (but not Jones), I do it every time.

Posted by Lance

11:46 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Adam, I'll backtrack in one respect. I said Bedard would be a patch job. That's a little harsh, I admit. I'm just thinking we get him, he gets hurt and/or doesn't perform to his 2007 level, and then we're right back next winter trying to upgrade the rotation all over again. That's what I meant by an annual patch job.
Funny you should mention the Little Unit, wrmike. A prime example of a guy with a truly golden arm and ten cent head. By the time he developed some sense his arm was too busted up to do anything.

Posted by booniefan's long lost brother

11:56 AM, Dec 05, 2007

Article from Ken Rosenthal ... M's in the Santana race.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:57 AM, Dec 05, 2007

MacPhail also was expected yesterday to meet with the Seattle Mariners, who have long coveted Bedard and would certainly get the Orioles' attention with an offer headed by outfielder Adam Jones and pitcher Brandon Morrow.

Another link Morrow and Jones are gone

Posted by Houston SonicsFan

12:01 PM, Dec 05, 2007

I heard about a possible three team trade involving Baltimore, Yankees, and M's...Hmmm!

Posted by ricofoy

12:15 PM, Dec 05, 2007

Only a 10-15 game suspension for Guillen? C'mon Bud, lay 50 on him!

Posted by scrapiron

12:18 PM, Dec 05, 2007

Peter Gammons is now reporting that the Twins might just hold on to Santana and not deal him at all. That would make Bedard now the most valuable pitcher available and the price tag might go up again.

Posted by Patrick F.

12:20 PM, Dec 05, 2007

Fox sports Ken Rosenthal just reported that the M's are back in the hunt for Johan Santana, but Boston is still the front runner. The M's are believed to have offered Adam Jones and Brandon Morrow. Santana would be better than Bedard obviously, but we'll have to see what happens. It maybe a ploy to get the Sox to increase their offer.

Posted by scrapiron

12:45 PM, Dec 05, 2007

I heard yesterday that Santana to the Red Sox was a done deal, but then the Red Sox balked at putting Kalish in the deal.

My guess is that the Red Sox tried to pull Kalish out of the deal so the Twins floated the Mariners name to Rosenthal, and the idea of holding on to Santana to Gammons.

Posted by Houston SonicsFan

12:52 PM, Dec 05, 2007

I have heard very little about a possible Freddy Garcia trade. He would be so inexpensive right now and offer a possible great return. That would be great to see the Chief back in Seattle.

Posted by Nate

1:15 PM, Dec 05, 2007

wow, that article was updated an hour ago - it seems like when many of these big name players get dealt these days it is to a team out of nowhere (like us potentially). I have continually stressed this but Johan is the best pitcher on the planet and if this actually happens the Ms will instantly have one of the best staffs.

The trouble here isn't Jones, it's Morrow, and I am more than willing to get rid of him, especially for Johan. He is still at least 2-3 years away from being a solid starter, and in that time frame Johan could win between 50-60 games for us.

Crossing my fingers this trade happens....

Posted by Rightwingrick

2:00 PM, Dec 05, 2007

If the M's can get Sean Marshall from the Cubs for Ibanez, they ought to do that deal IMMEDIATELY and forget selling out the future for Bedard. Marshall is a 6'5" lefty, young, impressive numbers. That's a great value for Ibanez, even if we have to throw in someone else. Jones, Morrow, and someone else for Bedard is NOT good value, given his history (no 200 IP) and age (he's not old, but many appear to be afraid of him breaking down).

Geoff, anything more on Marshall, and do you know any reason why we would NOT pursue such a deal?

Posted by Ben

10:06 PM, Dec 05, 2007

Agreed Wingrick! I'd pull the Ibanez/Marshall deal without batting an eyelash!

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