Fleecing the Emerald City – One Year Later

Ah, Erik Bedard.

Nearly a year ago today, he was treaded to Seattle for outfielder Adam Jones, and pitchers George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler and Kam Mickolio.

At the time, I didn’t know what to think of the deal as I was pleased that MacPhail was ready to take a risk, while worried that Bedard was going to build on his 2007 season and make Baltimore possibly look like fools.

Of course, some fans and those-on-the-inside knew better about Bedard — he was known by some in the media to be surly, lack a work ethic, seemingly not have a passion for the sport and of course the injury history — and didn’t think he’d be successful out West.

I figured that his career record, plus his age and the way he finished off 2007 despite his lofty numbers would not translate well in Seattle.

Well, the naysayers were right.

Bedard finished with a decent record of 6-4 with a sub-4 ERA; however, he started off his tenure in Seattle on a horrible note — basically pissing off the media with his odd, anti-social behavior (I’ll never forget what read from Jeff Baker — a columnist in Seattle), and irking his own coaches.

In the end, Seattle’s acquisitions — Bedard and Silva (ugh) – plus a horrible season in general by pretty much everyone on the team except Felix Hernandez and Ichiro Suzuki sent Seattle’s management and front office on their way to the unemployment line. 

Bedard too found out that the grass was not necessarily greener on the other side.

Now, the Mariners are starting from scratch, and are trying to win with a bloated and underacheiving payroll. Many considered Bedard at the time a pitcher who could have been comparable to Johan Santana thanks to his change-up and curve; however, now, one has to wonder despite his skill if he’s just a second tier pitcher. People here in Baltimore knew how good he was, but would never put him in the elite class, and in the end, we were right.

Meanwhile, one could say that the Oriole got the better end of the deal. Well, that would be quite an understatement.

George Sherrill was an All-Star in 2008 and established himself as a strong left-handed closer; Adam Jones showed flashes of brilliance, great athleticism and could be a potential star; Chris Tillman is one of the better arms in the Oriole minor league system, Kam Mickolio has the stuff — the only question is can he develop control and the verdict still remains on Tony Butler.

One has to give Andy MacPhail all the credit in the world for getting five bodies for one arm and coming out ahead. Simply put, he got some tangible pieces for the Oriole roster right now in Jones and Sherrill, and as well the future with Mickolio and Tillman.

I do hope the best for Bedard and the Mariners; however, it comes to show you how one trade can not only alter a team, but the direction for an entire franchise.

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