From All on the Field sports blog -- The Seattle Mariners won 88 games last season, finishing six games behind the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Southern California which is on the West Coast of the United States of America.
It was a nice improvement on their 78-84 season of 2006, but the streak of playoff futility -- stretching back to the 116-win season of 2001 -- continued.
All that to say that general manager Bill Bavasi keeping his job would seem contingent on the Mariners at least making an appearance in the playoffs this season. And to get Seattle to the playoffs, Bavasi needs to bring in a top-of-the-rotation starter, whose name isn't Johan.
 MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Mariners are very close to acquiring Erik Bedard from Baltimore in exchange for outfielder Adam Jones, reliever George Sherrill, and two to three minor league prospects.
It would be a gutsy deal, trading away Jones. Jones was a sandwich pick in 2003, and he's been knocking at the door of the Bigs for the last couple of seasons. He hit 25 home runs and drove in 84 last year at AAA Tacoma, and he was the only real candidate for the every day vacancy in right field.
Sherrill would be a big loss, too. He's been a solid lefty out of the pen for the last four years, with very solid seasons in '06 and '07. The other prospects -- Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, and Kameron Mickolio -- are relatively unknown commodities, at least at the Major League level.
But the carrot at the end of the stick is juicy, if not downright tantalizing. Bedard is young (he'll turn 29 in spring training), inexpensive (he'll be paid $6 million or $8 million depending on an arbitration ruling), and very, very good. He was 13-5 last year on a horrible Orioles team, with a 3.16 ERA and 221 strikeouts, a rate of 1.21K/9.
If Seattle can seal the deal, its rotation will be as follows:
Felix Hernandez - 14-7, 3.92 ERA
Jarrod Washburn - 10-15, 4.32
Miguel Batista - 16-11, 4.29
Carlos Silva - 13-14, 4.19 for Minnesota
If everyone pitches well, it's a very good rotation. Personally, I think if Bedard is acquired, the Silva signing becomes a redundancy. Brandon Morrow, the M's 2006 first-round pick, is ready to join the rotation, but if Bedard shows up, there's nowhere to put him, except back in the bullpen.
It's easy to get excited about this Bedard trade, but Mariners fans need to keep a couple of things in mind. First, there's that gaping hole in right field to address. Jose Guillen, who hit 23 home runs and drove in 99 last season, is gone. And if Bedard is on board, Jones is not. So that leaves utility man Willie Bloomquist and minor league slugger Wladimir Balentien -- or possibly a free agent acquisition -- to fight for the spot.
Second, the Angels haven't gone anywhere. They signed Torii Hunter and traded for Jon Garland, and some rumors have them making another deal with the White Sox for first baseman Paul Konerko. Even if that doesn't work out, Los Angeles is still an excellent baseball team, and in my books the favorite to win the division.
A move for Bedard, even with the loss of Jones, makes Seattle a better team instantly. They will push the Angels for the West division title and be in the running for the Wild Card, right from the get-go. But I'm not convinced this deal pushes them over the top.