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The deal has finally gotten done; Erik Bedard is a Mariner. Most websites are lauding this deal because the Orioles got good value for Bedard. But the AP article says "The departure of Bedard is yet another move to youth by the Orioles under president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail."
Um, there so many problems with that reasoning. Let's just talk about three big ones - 1.) Bedard is 28 and two years from free agency. A 'youth movement' will conceivably reach its conclusion by the time Bedard reaches his thirty-first birthday - in other words, at the time that Bedard reaches his prime. 2.) The Johan Santana saga has shown us that a pitcher one year from free agency has just as much value as a pitcher two years away. The Orioles would have lost nothing by keeping Bedard for a year. 3.) The Orioles are competing in a division that features young star pitchers such as Josh Beckett, Chien-Ming Wang and Roy Halladay, plus super prospects Jaba Chamberlain, Phillip Hughes,Clay Buckholz and Jon Lester. In order to compete with the Yankees and Sox, the Orioles are going to have to match those arms. But there is very little help on the way. Their best starter now has 116 major league starts under his belt, is nine games under .500, and a career ERA of 4.99. And there is very little hope on the horizon. None of the Orioles pitching prospects rates in Baseball America's Top 50 (all of the guys listed above have been on the list).
So let's fast forward two years. The Orioles have presumably been successful in their youth movement and are ready to contend. But what do they need? They need a top of the rotation starter to match up against the Yankees and Red Sox aces. And they let one get away.
Adam Jones may end up to be a periennial All-Star. But while the Orioles got good value for Bedard, the deal was still a bad decision by Andy McPhail. There is no comparable value for a young ace pitcher. Teams that have designs on winning, and supposedly have monetary resources, have no business trading away pitchers like Bedard.
Up next for the Orioles - trade the heart and soul of their lineup - second baseman Brian Roberts. Sad.