Tick, tock, someone get Peter Angelos a clock. The days and hours continue to tick by since the Mariners thought they had a deal with the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Erik Bedard. There are tons of rumors flying around. We’ve debunked the ones from yesterday, that Mariners trade chit Adam Jones had a degenerative hip condition. As for the ongoing talk that the O’s are trying to land a contract extension with Bedard? That one’s been flying around since Monday. Remember, Bedard gave an interview to the Baltimore Sun on Friday, suggesting he would have been open to an extension had the O’s bothered.
Then, on Saturday, M’s GM Bill Bavasi telephoned Jones in Venezuela to tell him he was going to the O’s as the “centerpiece” of a Bedard deal. Jones was to fly to Baltimore on Monday morning, pass a physical, and the deal would be complete. At least, that’s the impression Jones left everyone with when he gave an interview to Diario Panorama and reporter Augusto Cardenas on Sunday. I’ve now obtained an MP3 copy of that interview to play for you on the blog. You’ve already read the quotes. But I think it’s important to hear how certain Jones was that the deal was done and he was off to the Orioles (pending the physical). He talks about meeting his new teammates, about how Bavasi told him he was the “centerpiece” of the deal. Talks at the very end about how all his winter league teammates “know that I’ve been traded” and were congratulating him. There is no ambiguity in his voice. This is all important context in figuring out exactly what has gone on since.
When you hear Jones speak, you can’t help but assume that Jones, Bavasi and the M’s felt an agreement had been reached. We do know, from everyone we’ve talked to on this, that Orioles owner Angelos was furious on Sunday night when news of the trade was leaked. Did he call off the Jones physical in Baltimore? Somebody did. My theory? Angelos was miffed and put the deal on-hold, both to make everyone sweat — or “pay” if you will — for the leak, while possibly taking a last-ditch shot at signing Bedard. Whether or not he truly thinks an extension can be had, the delay lets everyone know he didn’t appreciate a 22-year-old spilling the beans on the deal. Hey, that guess is as good as any I’ve heard. Other teams getting involved? Not very likely.
Listen to the taped interview right here. The audio is not the greatest, it’s a second generation recording from an actual tape out of Venezuela. But it puts things, as they say, into proper context. We try to get you as close as we can to what’s happenening. The first voice you hear is interviewer Cardenas, asking: “How do you feel about this whole situation…” meaning, that he has to leave his winter ball team in the middle of the Venezuelan championships. Listen away from there. Yeah, the whole thing stinks. It stinks for Jones, who was obviously trying to help Cardenas out by being honest. It stinks for Bavasi, who’s now on pins and needles. And it stinks for baseball fans in two cities who are being held hostage, whether you’re pro-trade or anti-trade.
Can’t wait to see what other excuses are conjured up for why this hasn’t happened yet. Remember, Bavasi telephoned Jones on Saturday. It’s now four days later.