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January 31, 2008 at 2:06 PM

Wilkerson deal announced

UPDATE (4:34 p.m.): Latest on the Erik Bedard saga, courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.
2:06 p.m. We told you a couple of days ago that the Mariners had a back-pocket, one-year deal ready to go with outfielder Brad Wilkerson. (And turns out it’s for $3 million too, a lot better than what I tried taking a guess at. That’s why I’m not the GM.) Some of you would prefer we wait until teams announce things in a news release before we tell you what’s going on. Others like to hear stuff ahead of time. Now, you can all be happy. Whether or not this means the Erik Bedard trade we told you about last Sunday is now going to be declared “official” is anyone’s guess.
My take is that this deal is exclusive of the Bedard trade. At worst, you get a backup outfielder in case Adam Jones falls on his face. Or, who can give Jones and Raul Ibanez some more regular rest.
Wilkerson could have taken a one-year deal to be a backup with the Boston Red Sox. But he knows he can get into 100 games with the Mariners if that Bedard trade happens (which it most likely will, once the legal issues/hurdles raised by…Peter Angelos???…are dealt with). Anyway, there’s a conference call scheduled with Wilkerson in about 20 minutes, which Larry Stone is going to take. Believe it or not, I’ve actually been on vacation the past week.

For those of you still complaining that we somehow jumped the gun on the Bedard story in relaying it to you last Sunday, here, once again, is what we wrote in the very first blog entry:
“Adam Jones has left his Venezuelan Winter League team and flies to Baltimore tomorrow morning to take a physical so he can be dealt to the Orioles in exchange for pitcher Erik Berdard. No word yet on how many players going Baltimore’s way.”
The rest was followed by the quotes Jones gave to the Venezuelan newspaper, Diario Panorama. When we got a second source, Mariners spokesman Tim Hevly, confirming Jones had been pulled out of Venezuelan winter league action and called back to the U.S., we told you that, too. We asked Hevly if Jones was headed home to Arizona and he replied: “when we say ‘home’ we mean the United States.” That’s all he would say. The team allowed Jones to say the rest in his quotes, which the M’s did nothing to refute.
When the Baltimore Sun first quoted Orioles officials that night saying a deal had not been finalized, this is what we wrote on the blog: “Many of you have started wringing your hands over this item in the Baltimore Sun, written after our blog post, saying that an Erik Bedard-Adam Jones deal had not been finalized. Well, yes, we know that. If it was finalized, then Jones would not be flying back to the United States to take a physical.”
So, what’s the problem?
We have always been well aware that no deal is officially complete until a physical is taken, if one is requested. I sat through the nightmare in Toronto seven years ago when the Blue Jays traded David Wells to the White Sox for Mike Sirotka. When Sirotka turned out to have a pre-existing elbow injury that ended his career before he threw another pitch, the Blue Jays were out of luck and the “buyer beware” rule became ingrained throughout baseball. So, no, it is not unusual for teams to do medical checks on players before a deal is complete.
Unfortunately, in this case, nothing “routine” is taking place. The Orioles put the deal on-hold. If it’s to work out “legal issues” arising from the Jones interview, take it up with them. My job is to get the interviews and tell you what’s going on. Not to worry about what MLB teams might do as a reaction to that news.
Some of you, I know, understand that basic premise of the job a media member has and will comprehend that point. Others honestly do not know that part of a reporter’s responsibility, but welcome a clarification of the matter in good faith. There are still others out there who simply do not like the media and will go to any lengths to air their grievances in any forum they can find.
Over the years, I’ve grown tired of this latter group. If that shows me to have a shortcoming, so be it. I just find it wholly unoriginal. And I’m not talking about those of you who write in with serious questions about how we source things, or decide to publish. That’s all very fair. It’s the ones who come on to sling mud, their mind already made up that the media is an evil beast. If you feel that way, why spend so much time on here?
But I’ve allowed you to take your shots. We are a democracy, after all. Just rest assured, if the exact same situation happened today, I would not change a single aspect of our coverage. This isn’t me getting defensive, just stating the facts. Two teams had a deal last Sunday pending physicals. Happens all the time in baseball. Let them explain why it’s been delayed for much of this week. If they’ve got a beef with coverage being inaccurate, let them come out and explain themselves instead of hiding all week.
We told you what we know. Larry Stone and myself. Stone deserves as much credit for the original scoop as I do, by the way, it’s just me that has the instant forum here. But he did much of the work. What we wrote last Sunday still stands. What we wrote about Wilkerson, well, there you have it.
Those of you who still don’t like the media, go find another horse to flog. This one’s still riding.



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