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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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July 5, 2008 5:19 PM

Is Bedard healthy?

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Manager Jim Riggleman isn't so sure. He surmises something might still be bothering Erik Bedard after Bedard went 99 pitches and five innings on Friday.

Riggleman had this to say before the game, when asked about what he or pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre could do to extend Bedard.

"I don't think he's really totally feeling right, with whatever was happening before -- hip, back and all that ... He may be pitching a lot more than he should.

"I don't think he's totally right yet. I might be wrong about that, but I do feel that he's given us everything he could give us."

Bedard hasn't pitched more than 100 pitches since May 28. That's also the last time he made it past the sixth. And the M's really could have used a longer start last night, because their bullpen has been doing an awful lot of work lately. Six relievers have combined to pitch 16 1/3 innings the past four games, and three times a pitcher has gone two or more innings.

At least they won't be a man short tonight. Yes, Miguel Batista is back.

"Batista is very much available and very likely to be in there tonight," Riggleman said.

Starting lineups

Detroit (43-43)

Curtis Granderson CF
Placido Polanco 2B
Carlos Guillen 3B
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Marcus Thames LF
Gary Sheffield DH
Matt Joyce RF
Edgar Renteria SS
Dan Sardinha C

Armando Gallaraga, RHP

Mariners (34-52)

Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jose Lopez 2B
Raul Ibanez LF
Jose Vidro DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Reed CF
Richie Sexson 1B
Jeff Clement C
Yuniesky Betancourt

R.A. Dickey, RHP

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Posted by GripS

5:25 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Oh for the love of god.... I'm actually going to tonights game and you are telling me I might have to watch Batista!!!??? I swear I am cursed. At least i'm not paying for the tickets.

Posted by glmuskie

5:34 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Just posted about Bedard in the previous game thread...

If this is how Bedard pitches when he's not feeling right, that tells you what a ridiculously brilliant pitcher he is.

Opponents are batting .231 off him. Felix? .244. Washburn? .305.

Baker compared Bedard to Washburn in his previous post. That is a joke. Baker, I've been a big fan, but there is no basis for comparing the abilities of those 2 pitchers. They are night and day. Batters DO NOT like facing Bedard.

Everyone who is whining about Bedard's perceived pitch limit and lack of feel-good quotes to the media needs to keep in mind this fact: The only better left-handed starter the M's have ever had is a 6-10" freak of nature who's going to the hall of fame. He is the M's 2nd best starter, second only to one of the most amazing pitching prodigies the game has ever seen.

We knew... WE KNEW when Bedard came here he was prone to small injuries. If he gives us 150 innings per year and is healthy for the playoffs, that's fine by me.

This whining about his 100-pitch limit has got to stop. How many pitches would make you happy? 110? Another 1/3 or 2/3 of an inning per start? Or 130, and have him get injured for the rest of the season? Please. I'll take the shut-down, never-give -n mentality he takes to the mound every time he pitches.

Bedard is the type of player we should be embracing. Instead, we whine and grumble about what he doesn't do. How about, lets savor the amazing talent that he does have.

Posted by glmuskie

5:38 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Washburn: $9,850,000
Batista: $9,500,000
Silva: $8,250,000
Bedard: $7,000,000
Hernandez: $540,000

There is an almost direct inverse relationship between what the M's are paying their starting pitchers, and what they are worth.

Posted by levinea

5:38 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Maybe this is a way to increase Bedard's value before a trade? Many teams should have been dampened by the "he is a 100 pitcher". Basically saying to other teams: hey, this guy can go more than 100 pitches when healthy!

Posted by glmuskie

5:49 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Actually I didn't realize what a fine season Bedard is having. He's K'ing 8/9; BAA of .231; both of those are better than the King's.

Pitchers who have pitcher fewer innings than Bedard:

Jake Peavey
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Rich Harden
Scott Kazmir
Jeremy Bonderman
John Lackey

I'll take any of them on my roster, thank you very much.

Posted by mac rip

5:57 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Who do you think has a better personality Kenny Rogers, or Erik Bedard niether one of those guys is winning any personality awards.....

Posted by blmuskie

5:57 PM, Jul 05, 2008

levinea:

A good way to increase Bedard's trade value would be to NOT coddle to the media who makes him out to be some clubhouse cancer because he won't indulge their every whim and give them all the time & quotes that they'd like. Instead they should protray him as a cold-blooded warrior who takes no guff from anyone, least of all reporters.

Instead of talking about his minor injuries and poor attitude, they could talk about how baffled opposing batters are against them, about his sick offspeed stuff, and his excellent control which has been a bit off but looks like it's coming around.

They could talk about his BAA, which is better then Tim Lincecums, Roy Halladay's, and Brandon Webb's.

No that is not a typo.

People, do you realize what a disgusting, filthy pitcher Bedard is?

Posted by Mac

6:05 PM, Jul 05, 2008

I can cherry-pick stats, too.

ERA+
Bedard: 107 (down from 146 last year)
Felix: 138 (up from 110 last year)

Opp. OPS
Bedard: .697
Felix: .670

HRs Allowed
Bedard: 9 in 81 IP
Felix: 8 in 108 IP

Bedard has good surface numbers, but the bottom line is you need your top of the rotation guys to go more than 5 innings. Felix does that consistently, Bedard consistently fails to do this. His numbers would be more impressive if he could pitch into the 7th.

You can pay a guy $7M and hope he pitches 150 innings year if the goal is to simply fill seats and sell Shishkaberries. If you want to be a playoff team, you need more than that from a guy you traded 5 prospects for.

Posted by glmuskie

6:07 PM, Jul 05, 2008

RRS may turn out to be a great LH starting pitcher.

Philippe Aumont may turn out to be a great LH starting pitcher.

Chris Tillman may turn out to be a great LH starting pitcher.

The chance that any of them turn out to be as good as Erik Bedard is very, very, very small.

Bedard's talent is borderline HOF. He's that good. Probably he won't have a long enough career to sniff the hall. But make no mistake, he has that level of talent. Left handers capable of striking out 11/9 just do not come along very often. Like, almost never.

Posted by glmuskie

6:14 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Good post Mac.

I'm just so sick of people railing against this guy. If we had more players as good as him, we'd be winning more games. I hate to see us running a guy out of town who is so talented and so much fun to watch.

It's not about cherry picking stats. And it's not about Felix vs. Bedard. People realize how good Felix is. But they don't realize how good Bedard is. Or so it seems.

Even with the stats you post, I'll take those. A 107 ERA+ is not as easy to come by as you'd think. And if he achieves this while battling periodic minor injuries, that's impressive. Think if he was 100%.

Felix has gone deeper in games than Bedard. But Felix isn't perfect. Where is he now? Oh that's right, on the DL because he was being a bit too aggressive on a fielding play. Don't get me wrong, I love that about him. I'm just saying, keep things in context.

Again, nice post.

Posted by glmuskie

6:24 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Mac,

I do take issue with this:

"If you want to be a playoff team, you need more than that from a guy you traded 5 prospects for."

I don't think that's true.

1) The impact of the 5 specs remains to be seen. They could all be stars, and they could all be busts. It's not precisely knowable.

2) What you get from Erik Bedard is Erik Bedard. We've gotten, more or less, what we wanted. An elite level SP. It's foolish to expect him to be something he isn't purely because we want him to be something else, or because of what we paid for him. You pay $30,000 for a Benz or $40,000 for the same car, you still end up with the same car. And you get where you're going in style.

3) Playoff teams trade specs for top-shelf MLB players all. the. time.

Posted by M Dogg

6:25 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Batista pitching to the Tigers lineup? NOOOOOO!!!!!!

Posted by 6killer

6:26 PM, Jul 05, 2008

I don't feel that Bedard is mentaly healthy. Meaning I don't believe that he has the confidence in his recovery or health to push himself to excellence.

Posted by 6killer

6:30 PM, Jul 05, 2008

hey glmuskie,

I'd take Langston in his prime over Bedard, maybe even Moyer too. Moyer, now there's a pitcher with heart.

Posted by 6killer

6:37 PM, Jul 05, 2008

glmuskie

both Aumont and Tillman throw right handed, so I doubt they will turn out to be great LH starting pitchers.

Posted by glmuskie

6:39 PM, Jul 05, 2008

6killer,

I love Moyer too. As talented as Bedard? No way.

Langston had some fine years, no doubt. On talent alone.. ya maybe they're pretty close.

OK So Bedard is the 2nd or 3rd best LH starter the M's have had outside of maybe the best LH starter of all time.

Um, I'll take that. Yup.

Bedard's mental health seems fine. He's shrugged off some poor defense early in the year behind him, and pitched like heck in spite of it.

If my SP pitches with a .240 BAA and k's 8-10/9 and gives me 160IP, I don't care how much 'heart' he is *perceived* to have.

Posted by glmuskie

6:42 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Re: Aumont & Tillman, my mistake.

Posted by scottM

6:42 PM, Jul 05, 2008

glmuskie.

I'm with you on Bedard. He's never gotten himself into high gear here, but, I too, am sick of him taking the brunt for why this M's team has sucked this year. And, hey Dude, I have a one-of-a-kind Seattle Times Erik Bedard "campaign" button that I'll swap you for your M's seasons tickets in '09 (when Sir Erik takes us to the playoffs)!!

Posted by Lance

6:52 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Big night for the team. If they win tonight not only will they be 10-5 under Riggleman, a .667 clip, but they will be over the .400 mark. They haven't been there in a couple of months.

Incidentally, before tonight's game the team has been hitting .290 as a team under Riggleman.

Posted by 6killer

6:57 PM, Jul 05, 2008

I agree, Bedard has much talent.

One thing about a pitcher with heart, one that will battle for 7-9 innings is that it instills confidence in that pitcher's teammates. When The Big Unit, Moyer or even Felix took/take the hill, their teammates know that they will give it their all, leave every last ounce of effort on the field, give their team 110% effort to try and win the ballgame. So the players in turn try harder.

I don't know if the Mariners players have that confidence in Bedard. I would guess they don't. I wouldn't. Fifty percent of the time Bedard cannot make it out of the 5th inning. That means, even if he does superbly, the rest of the team has to pick him up and carry him to the finish line, the ninth inning. Like Green and Morrow did last night.

ScottM I like your enthusiasm, but I doubt the M's will sniff the playoffs for a few years. I hope that I am wrong.

Posted by wag the dog

6:57 PM, Jul 05, 2008

The bottom line, imo, is that if the Mariners are on a 2-3 year turn around program, Bedard is very unlikely to be here when we're finally good enough to compete. Can anyone say they honestly believe he'll resign with the Mariners?

If not, why keep him for another non-contending season when has trade value that will net us players who will have value to the Mariners in 2-3 years?

No, we're not going to get as much value as we gave up, thanks Bill Bavasi. But the Mariners can either think about the present or think about the future. The present is mediocre. The future will be too if we don't commit to a youth movement.

Posted by zona

7:07 PM, Jul 05, 2008

glmuskie ..... Thanks for standing up for Bedard! I have been thinking the same thing, but hadn't taken the time to write about it. Give him the opportunity to get healthy. It's obvious that he has a lot of talent, and I would like to see the fans and press back off. All of this criticism is counter-productive. I thought Bavasi's shot at him on the way out the door was classless and totally uncalled for.....as if he hadn't done enough damage already during his tenure as GM.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

7:07 PM, Jul 05, 2008

The argument I had against acquiring Bedard was his lack of longevity at the ripe age of 28. When we traded for him he had two great seasons under his belt. Two, that's it. His lack of being an established All-Star talent had me strongly against trading several top prospects for him.

I also argued against his mechanics being a possible precursor to inury. Which brought out the usual suspects in an uproar that questioned my scouting observation. All that being said, I agreed after the deal went down, Erik's talent as a possible frontline starter was definitely an improvement over Adam Jones bat from 2007. I still maintained I wouldn't had pulled the trigger on the deal.

Which now brings me to my final point.

Makeup.

And for those saberheads who don't understand the term, I'm not talking about cosmetics.

Scouting puts stock in the makeup of a player for exactly this type of scenario we have in Bedard. Math formulas don't take into consideration a player's work ethic, leadership, or personal values.

I recall reading on another saber site how the reason the M's have been so bad is because a player's make-up matters to Howard Lincoln and Armstrong.

Now I'm no way defending these clowns, but the claim made by this person doesn't make any sense.

Looking at Bedard, it's quite obvious that saber analyst doesn't know what he is talking about. As Bedard probably has the worst make-up of any player the M's have had in a very long time, yet ownership gave the green light on the deal. One would think the front office new Erik's favorite cereal and all time TV show before they pulled this mortgage deal off.

I can also point to other examples of the M's not caring about makeup in players they have acquired over the years like Mike Morse, Scot Spiezio, Carl Everett, Al Martin, and also who can forget Jeff Cirillo. These players are at the bottom of the grading scale in makeup.

So in conclusion. The M's actually don't care about makeup. You can point to Bloomquist all you want but Erik Bedard and the numerous bad makeup players say the M's don't care about makeup, and they should stop repeating mistakes and learn from them. Bedard in my mind has been the worst makeup guy I've seen in an M's uniform. I don't believe he is pitching through major injury, He is pitching through a lack of passion for the game, and playing for himself.

Posted by os fan

11:13 PM, Jul 05, 2008

Bedard will kill your bullpen. I hate to say it but the ms will not make it to a ws in Bedards career. lol You have 2 pitchers and nothing else. I mean nothing. lol good luck.

Posted by David

12:01 AM, Jul 06, 2008

Ya, That's why world series contenders were making offers for him, .....sheesh.

Posted by ls

4:14 AM, Jul 06, 2008

maybe bedard would pitch more innings if the mariner would score more runs and the games werent so close. It's harder to throw a guy out there who's a little fatigued for the sixth to eat innings when youre only up by one then when youve got a couple run lead to play around.

Posted by Jmnor55

9:02 AM, Jul 06, 2008

I think that you guys are missing the point. He was brought here to be the ace, not a 5-6 inning pitcher. We got a bag of wind. It would have been better to get Halladay of Toronto. Halladay works more innings and doesn't complain. Look what we gave up to Baltimore to get 95 pitches a game out of him. An all-star closer in Sherrill, a future all star in Jones and three other guys.

Posted by wag the dog

10:33 AM, Jul 06, 2008

"Bedard's talent is borderline HOF. He's that good. Probably he won't have a long enough career to sniff the hall. But make no mistake, he has that level of talent. Left handers capable of striking out 11/9 just do not come along very often. Like, almost never."

To me, this statement is a bit of hyperbole. HOF? It's not just longevity that makes it unlikely. It's makeup. There are guys with great stuff who aren't great pitchers. IMO, to be a true ace, to be a HOFer, you have to be the guy the whole team knows is going to come out every fifth day and dominate for 7-8 innings. The guy who ends losing streaks. The guy who sets the tone, brings the nasty and gives the whole team a certain "can't lose" swagger. That was Randy Johnson in his prime.

Compare Bedard to a Randy Johnson and I don't think it's close. Bedard's got the flashy ERA and K numbers but he doesn't have the mystique. He's not going to carry his team. He's not going to pitch with a sore back or a sprained ankle. He's not going to throw the first pitch of the World Series high and tight to set the tone. He's not going to give a truly spectacular performance. I really don't think he has the heart of an ace. He's a great number two. But it's a King Felix type who is going to lift the team on his shoulders, shut down losing streaks and really dominate when the chips are down.

I've been at the ballpark for Bedard starts and Felix starts. Maybe it's just me, but I think there's a palpable energy from the players and in the stands when Felix starts that isn't present for a Bedard start.

Bedard's got great stuff. But I wouldn't build a team around him. If I had one game to win and a choice of starting Bedard or Felix, I'd start Felix. I don't think you'd say that about many true HOFers - that you'd start someone else over them in a must win game.

Anyway, good to see Clement get his power stroke on. I think he's had two or three games like this but hasn't yet found the consistency to be a threat the majority of the time. Still, he's looking promising. It's been a while since the Mariners had a guy with true Safeco power. Clement can really hit it out. If Balentin can come back up and do the same, two big bats in the hands of young, energetic players would give the Mariners a dimension they haven't enjoyed much in recent years.

Still, I'd love to see the Mariners try to trade for another young slugger or two.

Posted by glmuskie

10:33 AM, Jul 06, 2008

ScottM, zona... Thanks!

osfan, Jmnor55... As DrDetecto points out in his blog, 'in 2007, Bedard got into the 7th-8th innings in 23 of 28 starts …. and it was 5.2 IP or more in 25 of 28.'

2007 was a great year for Bedard. He's likely been hurting most of this year, pitching through some discomfort and still handing leads off to his (now) shut-down bullpen. Resin Isn't Cheating... that sounds like good makeup to me.

wag the dog... Whether or not the M's are in the playoffs net year to me doesn't affect whether or not I think Bedard should stay here. I love watching players who are great at what they do and are winners. Bedard was 34-20 pitching for the Orioles. He's a winner. Get enough of them and the playoffs will happen.

Posted by glmuskie

10:55 AM, Jul 06, 2008

wag the dog,

nice post.

Randy Johnson is one of the 2, maybe 3 best LH pitchers OF ALL TIME. Bedard is not that.

Yes Felix is a better pitcher than Bedard. I'm not arguing we 'build around' Bedard, any more than the Red Sox are 'building around' Daisuke Matsuzaka or Josh Beckett or Jon Lester. You want to win a pennant, you need a few SP's who are as good as Bedard and Felix. There aren't many out there, and it's foolish to think that you can get a pitcher as good as either of them when you need them. Sign Bedard & Felix to big fat 7 year deals, then you've got 2 SP's you'll take in to battle against anyone.

Posted by glmuskie

10:57 AM, Jul 06, 2008

From SABRMatt:

Erik Bedard, despite strictly following his personal philosophy of not pitching tired (and thereby getting more hurt), has not been unusually weak when it comes to facing a given number of batters. The league average BF/Start is 23.9. This takes into account the high variability in performance in starting pitchers…a variability to which Mr. Bedard is not commonly subject (he’s been among the most consistent Mariner starters this year). Removing the one start in which Bedard was pulled early due to back spasms after facing only ten batters, Bedard has faced 24.3 batters per start.

I think the media is letting their personal distaste for Erik Bedard (due to his being stand-offish in front of the camera) get in the way of clear-headed thinking…I’m sorry to say, that includes you, Mr. Baker. I’ve been a fan of yours since I was pointed your way by other Mariners fans and I am frankly baffled by your appraisal of Bedard. Would you be happy with him if he always pushed it one more inning and coughed up a few more leads like Felix has done (remember that painful 2-0 lead we saw evaporate in the 8th against Oakland?? Remember how much that hurt??)? What do you want from Erik Bedard - I mean aside from a good soundbite you’ll never get? He’s been pitching through pain and doing so better than anyone else in the Mariner rotation except for King Felix. He knows his body and he knows his own limits. A few of our other pitchers (*cough*Batista*cough*Putz*cough-cough*) could learn from his example and we’d be a LOT better off right now if they had. JJ was pitching hurt all year and it showed in that sparkling 5.40 ERA and several painful blown saves. Batista’s 6+ ERA is entirely the result of his back problems. Is that what you want from Erik?

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