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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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February 8, 2008 3:22 PM

Bedard says hello

Posted by Geoff Baker

Bedard 011.jpg

Just got back from the Erik Bedard press conference. He's excited to be here. No, seriously. You'd never tell, because he's a low key guy. But prompt him a little and he doesn't mince words. He's happy to be out of Baltimore and with a team that looks like it can contend for a playoff spot.

"That's the big thing,'' he said. ''With Baltimore, it seemed like we were going backwards. Obviously here they're going forward and trying to build a team that's competitive and can get in the playoffs and win.''

Hear the start of the questions/answers session right here. And some more of it in this clip. We asked him afterwards about what he thought of Baltimore's efforts to offer him a contract extension, then what he thought about whether he or Felix Hernandez is the No. 1 starter. He apparently doesn't care much for either topic.

See some sights and hear some sounds from today's press conference with the video below. Remember, it's not meant to be a series of interview clips, so don't pay too much attention to the quotes. Some of the footage jumps right in to the middle of GM Bill Bavasi speaking to a crowd of reporters. The point of this video is just to give you a feel for what it's like to be at one of these things.

Bedard 008.jpg

Mariners GM Bill Bavasi said the team might do a little fine-tuning, but is essentially done with its off-season makeover.

That means Brandon Morrow is done as a starting pitcher for now and will be a late-inning reliever in the seventh or eighth. It means Horacio Ramirez will have to compete for a job in long relief or possibly get traded. Bavasi says folks will be surprised at the improvements Ramirez has shown. We'll wait until he shows us before commenting further. And it means that right field is going to be in Brad Wikerson's hands for now. Wladimir Balentien could be brought in to take some at-bats there, or a minor deal made for an additional bat.

As for extending Bedard beyond the two years he's currently under Seattle's control?

"We'll talk to his agent,'' Bavasi said. "We'll always talk to players about that -- and your better players, you always want to extend them. But our discussions with Erik have been purely about baseball.''

Bavasi said the deal did take longer than he's used to. But he declined to comment on anything further in that regard, advising reporters to speak to Orioles president Andy MacPhail on the delays. The Seattle GM insists Adam Jones did nothing wrong and handled himself well when told to go take a physical. But Bavasi also said Jones wasn't told anything more than that he had to go to Baltimore for a physical.

"He came up with everything else on his own,'' Bavasi said.

Who wouldn't?

Here's what MacPhail told reporters in Baltimore:

"You still had a week to go before this thing was going to be finalized,'' he said. "This was a big move and both teams needed to satisfy themselves and go through the medical protocol. Unfortunately, there has been recent history of trades where a team immediately found out that they weren't getting what they thought. Each team has a responsibility not to let that happen. Even after the 27th you were talking about a good week before this thing was going to be completed. So it took an extra week. In the grand scheme of things, whether the deal gets done Feb. 2 or Feb. 8, what mattered was -- did each team get what they were hoping to get in the deal?

"That's going to be something that will be evaluated into the future,'' he added. "It was a pretty simple process. When we had a hiccup on the 27th, we had to go back to the league and make sure certain safeguards were in place on both sides. Once we did that, we re-upped the thing and got it going again. It was really pretty straight forward. I am not terribly troubled by the date the transaction occurs."

No kidding.

Bedard 009.jpg

Adam Jones and George Sherrill held a conference call with reporters a short while ago. Sherrill again talked about being disappoitned to leave Seattle, but said he's discussed the possibility of closing with his new manager and is excited about the future.

Jones is relieved this entire saga is finally done. "It's good to have it out of the way,'' he said.

As for spilling the beans about the trade to a Venezuelan reporter: "I was just trying to let everybody know what was going on -- all the information that I had. It blew up quickly and everybody started to know about it.''

By the way, fresh off the presses from our gambling friends at Bodog, here are some of the latest Bedard betting odds:

How many games will Erik Bedard win this season?
Over 16.5

Under 16.5

What will Erik Bedard's ERA be for this season?
Over 3.00 -130

Under 3.00 Even


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