The trade or potential trade that has been passed about like a cheap date in Waco could see the light of day. According to MLB.com, ESPN.com, the Baltimore Sun and the Associated Press, Multiple sources reported Monday that the Orioles and Mariners may have moved closer to completing a blockbuster trade for Erik Bedard. Reports state that key players have undergone physical examinations and that the trade could be consummated by the middle of the week.
The Orioles will reportedly obtain center fielder Adam Jones, reliever George Sherrill and three pitching prospects in exchange for their staff ace, who set a franchise record with 221 strikeouts last season. The trade has been rumored for more than a week and has survived despite rampant speculation and several reported false alarms.
Both the Sun and Post-Intelligencer reported Monday that Jones was in Baltimore, drawing the trade closer to completion. Both Jones and Sherrill have reportedly undergone their physical examinations, but the Sun reported Monday night that Bedard has not yet flown to Seattle and is expected to arrive there later in the week.
The deal, which also reportedly includes pitching prospects Chris Tillman, Tony Butler and Kam Mickolio, will likely need a Bedard physical before it can be completed and announced. Tillman, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, was ranked by Baseball America as the third-best prospect in Seattle's organization.
News first broke of the deal last Sunday when Jones told a Venezuelan reporter that he'd been traded. That sent both teams into reactionary denial mode, and the story soon spiraled out of control. There have been rumors that Orioles ownership had nixed the deal and that Jones had a medical condition causing the delay, but the deal has still progressed.
Bedard, who's under contractual control for two more seasons, would be the second big piece dealt by the Orioles this winter. Baltimore traded shortstop Miguel Tejada earlier this offseason to start its facelift and may deal second baseman Brian Roberts to complete the process. From there, the team could go in a variety of directions.
Jones, who hit .314 with 25 home runs and 84 RBIs for Triple-A Tacoma (Pacific Coast League), was named Seattle's Minor League Player of the Year last season. That was the second time he's earned that designation. Jones, a former shortstop and former first-round draft pick, made his big league debut before his 21st birthday and has hit .230 in 139 Major League at-bats.
Tillman, Seattle's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, has averaged nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings in the Minor Leagues. The former second-round draft pick made 20 starts in the offense-friendly California League last year, notching a 6-7 record and a 5.26 ERA. The 19-year-old rung up 105 strikeouts and walked 48 batters for Class A High Desert of the California League.