Bedard Confirms Deal

Dave · February 5, 2010 at 9:02 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Sullivan google translates a French newspaper in which Bedard is quoted as saying:

“I’m really happy it was my first choice but to return to Seattle”, he said yesterday as he was en route to Peoria, Arizona.

The deal is, as reported, $1.5M in guaranteed money and a shipload of incentives. Kudos to Jim Street for getting it right.

While a physical for Bedard is obviously not a minor thing, the Mariners have been in charge of his rehab, so they obviously are aware of the current state of his arm, more than anyone else. I wouldn’t expect them to find a problem that nukes the deal. In what can only be considered a pretty big surprise, Bedard is a Mariner again.

My thoughts on the deal – obviously, for $1.5 million out of pocket, the risk is minimal. He could suffer a setback and never pitch again, and the M’s wouldn’t be out much of anything. Signing Bedard to this deal won’t keep them from doing anything else you might want them to do. The guaranteed money is basically irrelevant.

And, as we all have seen in spurts, when he is healthy, he’s a really good pitcher. Despite pitching through an injury, his FIP last year was basically the same as Felix’s. His curveball is a knockout weapon, and when he’s on the mound at anything near 100%, he’s one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game. The thought of what he could be is extremely enticing, I know. I realize that the natural reaction to this is to envision a front of the rotation that goes Felix-Lee-Bedard, then start jumping up and down and hugging yourself.

Not to be a downer, but we have to really temper our expectations of what he’s going to give us, though. He’s out until at least May, and he’s not known for being a quick healer. June is probably more likely. So, for the first 1/3 of the season, don’t count on seeing him on the mound. If he recovers to the point of being able to pitch in June, then he’s going to have to work his way back up, going through his own personal spring training. He’s not going to just be ready to throw 100 pitches in a big league game right off the bat. There’s going to be rust to work through.

And, honestly, there’s a question of how long he’ll last. He hasn’t pitched a game in September since 2006. He broke down at 80 innings in each of the last two years. You hope that surgery has fixed the problem, but these shoulder issues aren’t like broken legs; they don’t heal as good as new. He could easily end up taking the Mike Hampton career path, where even when he’s healthy, he’s not really healthy, and he limps along from one DL trip to the next.

Bedard has now had both labrum surgery and Tommy John surgery. His arm has been through some wars. Trying to figure out just how much is left in the tank is a guessing game. Obviously, we’d love for him to be the new Chris Carpenter, and there’s a chance for that to happen. But there’s an equal (or probably greater) chance of him being the new Mark Prior, where he just continually breaks down and never gets back to the early promise he had.

Just because of what is possible and the low cost, I think you have to like this deal. The M’s aren’t really risking anything, and there are scenarios where Bedard comes back and pitches well, giving them the best 1-2-3 in all of baseball, and a potentially dominating playoff rotation. Just because of the upside and the lack of risk, this is absolutely a deal worth making, and I’m glad to see that the M’s went for reward rather than conservative safety.

But, on the other hand, we should be realistic about what to expect. Bedard coming back in May and giving us 120+ innings of All-Star pitching is just really unlikely. We should hope for about half a season’s worth of innings, and not have too high of expectations for the level of performance he’ll offer, coming off another major arm surgery. Be hopeful, but be realistic.


89 Responses to “Bedard Confirms Deal”

  1. behappy on February 5th, 2010 12:22 pm

    Has anyone ever seen a team built with so many high risk/high reward type players?

    If everything falls into place I don’t see how the M’s can loose. We would have the BEST starting rotation in baseball by far.

    But the IF’s are everywhere. IF Milton Bradley can keep his head on straight. IF Casey can finally live up to his potential. IF Jack Wilson can stay healthy all year. IF Franklin can continue to hit. IF Lopez will produce like he did last year. IF one of the young catcher’s breaks out. IF the bullpen can shut down the late innings. IF Bedard proves he is not made of glass. IF my childhood HERO can TICKLE as good as he did last summer. IF Don can can continue to show that his has a great baseball mind. IF Ichiro can continue to define aging. IF….. I mean it continues with the entire roster. The only constants will be the GLOVES, THE KING and MR. LEE.


  2. scott19 on February 5th, 2010 12:22 pm

    Yea Miguel Batista. I wonder where he landed?

    The mighty Washington Nationals…

    Like the Hoboken Zephyrs from that old Twilight Zone episode, always a fun franchise to wind down one’s career with.

  3. Liam on February 5th, 2010 12:33 pm

    Has anyone ever seen a team built with so many high risk/high reward type players?

    As Dave pointed out, the risk here is minimal. Ben Sheets at $10M is high risk, especially for a team with a $50M payroll.

    As for the other players, there is already a healthy amount of regression built into each projection so it’s not like the Mariners need every break they can get in order to win the AL West.

  4. gwangung on February 5th, 2010 12:42 pm

    Yeah, this is a lot of low risk/medium to high reward players here.

    That’s how you want to build a team. (Yeah, they may ALL fall flat on their faces, but it’s much more likely that at least one will hit the high end).

  5. scott19 on February 5th, 2010 12:47 pm

    Ben Sheets at $10M is high risk, especially for a team with a $50M payroll.

    Agreed there…that signing did seem a bit outside of what Beane usually does. When injuries and a lack of innings from starters not named Cahill or Anderson take their toll, going to the craps table for a roll of the dice suddenly becomes an option.

  6. julian on February 5th, 2010 12:50 pm

    I thought this was interesting:

    Bédard n’était pas familier avec tous les détails du contrat qu’il va parapher, mais il y a des primes pour chaque période de 30 jours où il se retrouve dans l’alignement des Mariners, et d’autres pour le nombre de manches lancées. « Si tout va bien, il y a moyen que je fasse à peu près le même salaire que l’an passé », a dit celui qui a empoché 7,5 millions $ (US) en 2009…

    What? You don’t speak French? Sorry. Roughly, it says that though Bedard wasn’t familiar with all the details of his contract, it contains bonuses for every 30 days he spends on the Mariners roster (presumably the active roster). Bedard is quoted as saying, “if all goes well, I could make about as much as I did last year.” ($7.5 million)

    So something else to factor in is that if Bedard *does* get and stay healthy, he won’t be quite as much of a bargain.

  7. heychuck01 on February 5th, 2010 1:07 pm

    Bedard is quoted as saying, “if all goes well, I could make about as much as I did last year.” ($7.5 million)

    So something else to factor in is that if Bedard *does* get and stay healthy, he won’t be quite as much of a bargain.

    I would argue that a healthy and effective Bedard is worth 15mil ++ per year, so either way, you still get a massive bargain.

    But that is my opinion.

  8. natebracy on February 5th, 2010 1:10 pm

    How does this affect the idea of a 6 man bullpen? When he does join the club, he’s not going to be able to go very deep into games…

  9. Liam on February 5th, 2010 1:19 pm

    How does this affect the idea of a 6 man bullpen?

    It’s not something to be concerned with now. There are any number of moves the Mariners could make by the time he is ready. (Players released, traded, on the DL or optioned to AAA)

  10. Pete Livengood on February 5th, 2010 1:29 pm

    I’d have to know the specific incentives to be sure, but given that the base is $1.5M, if Bedard meets enough of them to get to $7.5M, he’s got to be healthy and pitching very effectively – very likely in the range of 2-3 WAR over 15-20 starts. If he can do that, he’s still a MAJOR bargain at $7.5M.

  11. smb on February 5th, 2010 1:31 pm

    In the somewhat likely event he does eventually break down and hit the DL for a long-ish stint, I just hope people won’t attack him personally, and that includes the indirect and ad hominem shots that tend to come front print sources (not you guys, in other words).

    I think it takes a hell of a lot of guts to even attempt to come back again after the injury, rehab, injury, and-on cycle he’s been in for years now. He could have just quit and lived comfortably in retirement long ago–I am going to go out on a limb here and say this guy must actually love the game of baseball, despite what others try to project onto him.

  12. nathaniel dawson on February 5th, 2010 1:53 pm

    I’d have to know the specific incentives to be sure, but given that the base is $1.5M, if Bedard meets enough of them to get to $7.5M, he’s got to be healthy and pitching very effectively – very likely in the range of 2-3 WAR over 15-20 starts. If he can do that, he’s still a MAJOR bargain at $7.5M.

    The incentives aren’t going to be triggered by how effective he is — other than allowing him to meet certain playing time threshholds, which is what the bulk of the incentives are likely to be. There are probably some awards incentives in there as well. Things like MVP or Cy Young votes, post-season appearances, MVP of post-season series, etc. He could meet those and make what he made last year, but a lot of those aren’t very likely.

  13. MrZDevotee on February 5th, 2010 1:54 pm

    Yes. That’s all I have to say.

    A fresh arm coming into the rotation at the all-star break with #1 starter potential. I was hoping this would happen. And believed it would, since we were bankrolling his rehab even though he wasn’t under contract.

    Bedard has always been an odd one, sure, but it was troubling how the media painted him out as a horrible pariah, because he gave lame interviews or seemed indifferent to reporters. The guy put up Felix-like numbers when he was out there, and I for one LOVE to watch him pitch.

    I always gave him the benefit of the doubt about his injuries, because of how much passion and drive it takes to compete at the level he has in the Majors. It’s not like he didn’t want to be on the mound (if he can get back to healthy he’s got 5-6 more quality years in him). And it’s not like the two injuries he’s had recently AREN’T major injuries. And he STILL put up stellar numbers while struggling with his health.

    The fact that the M’s have advanced the talks to the point of a contract means to me they’re seeing good improvement. Compare how they handled Bedard with how they handled Branyan. Z isn’t doing anybody any favors with this contract– he believes Bedard can help us win, and is on the road to being healthy, period. And still covered out ass-ets (with the incentive laden contract– Bavasi is hopefully taking notes on how this works).

    Plus I give Bedard credit for believing he owes it to the M’s to give them more production. If he was the problem child he’s painted out to be, he’d walk away, clean the slate, and sign for more guaranteed money somewhere else.

    I’m not defending him so much as just scratching my head still, totally blind to why so many people disliked him (he was basically heaped in the same pile with Batista and Silva that past two years… ?).

    Forget his name for a moment… Anyone tells you that you can have a guy with Cy Young caliber stuff for half a season (the playoffs half) for 1.5 million and you jump on it– “where do we sign”.

    AND… he has something to prove. To himself, more than anyone. I like it. What’s our next move Z?

  14. Jeremariner on February 5th, 2010 1:59 pm

    Vive la rédemption!

  15. Swungonandbelted on February 5th, 2010 2:22 pm

    Wheeee…. the thought of Felix/Lee/ a healthy Bedard/ Trained monkey/ Semi trained monkey for a starting rotation… The season can’t get here fast enough !!!

  16. Pete Livengood on February 5th, 2010 2:25 pm

    Nathaniel, I didn’t say the incentives would be tied to or triggered by how effective he is. You’re attributing things to me that I didn’t say.

    What I intended to communicate is that his incentives are likely to be in these categories (some or all): time on the active roster, games started, and/or innings pitched. I personally think his incentives will include some form of all three. If he hits ALL of his innings pitched incentives, I’m saying that he is very likely pitching effectively, and in that case will very likely be worth every penny of $7.5M (and more). But that doesn’t mean that the incentives are triggered by effectiveness, just that effectiveness is a byproduct of hitting his incentives.

  17. awolfgang on February 5th, 2010 2:30 pm

    Here is how I temper my realism with enthusiasm.

    Just about any team would pay 1.5$ mil for a starting LHP at the trade deadline to help them with the playoff push.

    So, don’t rush his recovery, instead save him for Aug/Sep. Which is when our younger arms will probably be tiring anyways.

  18. IdahoInvader on February 5th, 2010 2:30 pm

    I agree the 6 man pen obviously could be a concern if and when Bedard is on board. Couldn’t signing Felipe Lopez to play INF and OF in an almost McLemore-like role be a possibility? Or am I reaching waaaaaay too far to think he could adequately replace both Langerhans AND Hanahan?

  19. nathaniel dawson on February 5th, 2010 2:39 pm

    Nathaniel, I didn’t say the incentives would be tied to or triggered by how effective he is. You’re attributing things to me that I didn’t say.

    Pete, hopefully you won’t think that I was putting words in your mouth. I wasn’t sure if you meant that, I was mostly adding a clarification for those reading that thought it might hinge on how effective he was.

    Yes, you’re right — if he meets those playing time incentives, it will mean he’s pitching well and will likely be worth whatever pay those incentives give him.

  20. Pete Livengood on February 5th, 2010 2:49 pm

    No worries. That came off sounding like I was pissed, and I’m not. I was just trying to clarify myself, since I obviously confused you a bit. Not your fault – mine.

  21. goat on February 5th, 2010 3:21 pm

    I’m in agreement with those saying it might be best to save him for as late in the season as possible. The value of starting pitching in the playoffs seems to be greater than during the regular season.
    And I think Snell could be a good match for him as far as being a different style to come in when he can only go 5 innings. So drop Snell from the rotation when Bedard is ready. So there might still be room for another arm…

  22. PDMZ on February 5th, 2010 3:26 pm

    I love this deal. Despite the injuries and the media’s cynical view of Bedard’s attitude, I think he’s a top-notch pitcher who could be the perfect #3 man in this rotation. (Albeit, not in the first half of the season.)

  23. grinch11 on February 5th, 2010 3:56 pm

    1. Felix Hernandez
    2. Cliff Lee
    3. Erik Bedard

    That’s deadly in the postseason.

  24. Pete Livengood on February 5th, 2010 4:18 pm

    But goat, what if Snell is better than whoever fills the other slot (whether one of Vargas-Olson-Hill-Fister-French, or some new signing)? I don’t think I would automatically pair Snell with Bedard, no matter how good the complementary fit would be with him, if it meant you left a worse pitcher in the rotation….

  25. G-Man on February 5th, 2010 4:19 pm

    I was already thinking that I wanted to save him until later in the season before I got to the part where he gets bonuses for each 30 days. Now I know I want that.

    He won’t be worth $7.5 million if he stays on the roster but pitches 5-6 mediocre innings every start. However, the deal is fine with me; I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  26. Pete Livengood on February 5th, 2010 4:38 pm

    I would think, if he signed an incentive-laden contract and he gets healthy, Bedard would have some say about when and how he gets used. Or at least that the Mariners might be facing a grievance if they delayed the debut of a healthy pitcher on an incentive-laden contract on the excuse that they “just want to keep him healthy until late season.” That would have at least the appearance that they might be doing that just to avoid paying the incentives….

  27. rollermoose on February 5th, 2010 6:49 pm

    I believe that all mariner fans will have their fingers crossed. Could this just be a deal for a player with something to prove and maybe a career on the line? If he does well would he want to come back to Seattle or just a number buffer to go into free agency?

  28. ck on February 5th, 2010 9:21 pm

    Years from now, when folks look back at The Bedard Trade, they will remember it helped usher out GM Bavasi, and that opened the door for a ‘player’ named later, GM Jack Zduriencik. GM Jack Z. has made the Mariners competitive, entertaining, and relevent. Ironically, while Jack Z. has purged many Bavasi acquisitions, Jack Z has now signed Bedard himself. If Bedard can return to form in June, and stay healthy until the end of October, this could be a very special year for M’s fans.

  29. Catherwood on February 5th, 2010 10:30 pm

    Along with (apparently) everyone else, I like this deal a lot. What amazes me more, however, is that I’m pretty darn fluent in French and the google translation from the French is bang on! Soon we’ll just carry around little pocket devices to access the interwebs and they’ll translate for us – what? You say that already happens?

    But let’s say he’s more of a July return – assuming Washburn isn’t in the mix, is the pre-Bedard rotation Felix/Lee/RRS/Snell/Fister? Obviously, we’d have to see what happens in spring training, but is there anyone else obviously looking to horn in on the rotation?

  30. terry on February 6th, 2010 4:24 am

    My hope is the guy logs about 100 innings of 4th starter type production and then hits his stride say in September. To me this is a bet that he could be an impact pitcher if the Ms make the post season.

    And there really isn’t a lot of downside to this move flaming out….

  31. MarinersBoy on February 6th, 2010 4:30 am

    Anyone getting nervous that this season is too good to be true? Cause it looks sooooo good on paper…which always makes me nervous. 2008 team looked amazing on paper. I do believe in this team, Ive just been an Ms fan my whole life if u know what i mean. Sox had the curse of the Babe, Cubs got the goat curse… Mariners always get cursed with just unreal,bordering on absurd,Bad Luck. Not this year though right! GO MARINERS AND THANK YOU JACK FOR GIVING BEDARD ANOTHER SHOT!!

  32. Pine Tar on February 6th, 2010 7:33 am

    Right now it seems that the Mariners have a lot of players that might work out. Many are players who have had success in the past but have struggled recently due to injury, bad luck, or unknown reasons. They could perform at their ceiling or they could crash and burn. Players like Snell, Byrnes, Garko, Bedard, Wilson, Griffey, Kotchman, Bradley…. We are getting most of these players cheap. Those that work are tremendous bargains, those that don’t won’t cost the team much.

    My intuition tells me that this team could be very good or just so so. Now I’ve seen tons of projections that show the Ms winning 87/88 games. My question is: Are there any projections that include a standard deviation? How do you account for a wide range outcomes you combine a whole series of unpredictable assets?

  33. Wolfman on February 6th, 2010 7:34 am

    Can someone speak to the wisdom of having 1 righty (Felix) and 4 lefties in a rotation (Lee, RRS, Bedard, and Washburn)?

    Is that an issue, or not?

    I was thinking the same thing. A trade for Harang would be great to balance out the rotation. But who knows what the Reds would ask for him? That may not be feasible. If anybody could pull it off though, it would be Jack Z. I LOVE that guy!

    As for Bedard, I agree with Dave. Temper the enthusiasm a little; but it is fun to think about a healthy Bedard following Felix and Lee! What a playoff rotation that would be! I had major shoulder surgery this year and I’ll tell you, it can be extremely painful and frustrating. I hope Erik pulls through and earns every one of those incentives. That would bode very well for the Mariners.

  34. Pine Tar on February 6th, 2010 7:35 am

    Safeco is a much much better park for LHP.

  35. rsrobinson on February 6th, 2010 7:41 am

    Even if Bedard is ready to start pitching in May like he hopes he’ll presumably be pitching some rehab assignments in the minors first, and then will be on a strict pitch count for awhile. Even if all goes well, the earliest I see Bedard really being turned loose would be July, and that’s probably optimistic.

    Still, this is a great move. At worst the M’s get little or no production out of Bedard and eat the $1.5M, which is chump change in MLB in the grand scheme of things. At best he becomes the equivalent of a mid-season rent-a-player for the pennant run without having to give up any prospects for him.

  36. Arron on February 6th, 2010 7:51 am

    Bedard should be named Opening Day starter…

  37. nathaniel dawson on February 6th, 2010 10:44 am

    Safeco is a much much better park for LHP

    That might be overstating it a bit. We know that it’s a park that favors pitching, but we don’t really know how that works out with left handers and right handers. We infer that it’s better for lefties because it tends to increase power to LH hitters and decrease it for RH hitters, but we don’t know to what extent it affects different handed pitchers.

  38. ThundaPC on February 6th, 2010 3:40 pm

    Anyone getting nervous that this season is too good to be true? Cause it looks sooooo good on paper…which always makes me nervous. 2008 team looked amazing on paper.

    Regarding the quality of the 2008 roster, well, that depends on who you ask.

    While the hype level behind the 2008 and 2010 teams seem about the same that’s where the similarities end. After the Bedard trade in 2008, we had the pieces in place only to make a run at the division at best. Too much needed to go right for the team to give the Angels a run for their money.

    In 2010, this team is right in the thick of things even based on reasonable expectations. If everything breaks our way we could potentially pull away from the pack. Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s extremely unlikely we’ll suffer anything remotely resembling what we went through in 2008.

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