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August 14, 2009 at 5:09 PM

Mariners GM Zduriencik: Bedard extension possible, but team will monitor recovery first

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Ken Griffey Jr., in the photo above, does his impression of Ichiro’s batting ritual. Ichiro doesn’t look very impressed.
Spoke to Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik a few moments ago and he told me the team has not ruled out offering some type of extension deal to injured pitcher Erik Bedard. But first, he said, the team will have to monitor his recovery and see how things go.
“He just had surgery,” Zduriencik said. “We don’t even know when he’s going to start pitching again.”
The team has a window of opportunity between now and 15 days after the end of the World Series where Bedard is still under Mariners control and can be negotiated with exclusively. If nothing happens, then Dec. 1 is the deadline for the team to offer salary arbitration to Bedard.
This would be highly unlikely.
While there is no minimum to what the Mariners could offer him (there’s a 20 percent pay cut limit, but it doesn’t apply to would-be free-agents, only to players still under club control) arbitrators historically are reluctant to hand out huge pay cuts. Bedard actually put up decent numbers when healthy. Remember, there’s no middle ground here. If his side goes in asking for a modest raise to, say, $9 million, it’s a choice between that or the team’s offer.
In other words, Bedard could easily be awarded $8 million-to-$10 million. And that would be for a pitcher coming off his second straight season-ending surgery.
In other words, no chance the M’s offer him arbitration unless they struck some kind of behind the scenes deal where he’d decline it. I wouldn’t count on that Type B compensatory draft pick for now. We’ll see.
If things got that far and Bedard wasn’t offered arbitration, then he’d become a free agent. At that point, the Mariners could turn around and negotiate with him, as could any of the other 29 clubs.

The Mariners could very well decide to go that latter route if they aren’t certain about his recovery. They will learn a bunch in the two months between now and mid-October, but he still won’t be even halfway to getting back to seriously throwing again.
The labrum tear they did find is a significant devleopment. Apparently it was in an area that wasn’t easy to detect. He also had swelling in the bursa sac, which I can tell you from personal experience is not fun. Sleep on your side when the sac swells up and you’ll wake up in the morning with your arm completely “asleep” in a paralyzed state until the blood starts to flow again. This type of swelling can be a result of the labrum being torn, or other impingments in the area.
What the Mariners will have to decide is how much money taking a calculated risk on Bedard will be worth. They probably won’t be the only interested team if he does make it to the free agency period.
But if you feel he can come back healthy from this, he’s going to come at a cost that’s a whole lot cheaper than what he might have commanded as a healthy free-agent. Still, this is no slam dunk. Bedard has not finished the season healthy for three consecutive years.
You can offer him a “cheap” incentive-laden deal, but again, if other teams start competing for his services, the cost might be driven up. I keep getting told that he likes it here and don’t see why he wouldn’t. The team is on the upswing, he gets along with his fellow pitchers and the new coaching staff and this isn’t exactly New York as far as media scrutiny goes.
So, we’ll see.
Adrian Beltre will not have surgery and that’s good news from a Mariners perspective. Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu told me it’s possible — and he’s hoping — that Beltre can step back out on the field once he’s eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 28.
Spoke to Jack Wilson today and he won’t be going on the DL. Wilson is targetting next Tuesday as the date for his return from that hamstring strain. He hurt his leg in much the same way on July 20 with the Pirates and missed three games.
“It’s a mild hamstring pull,” he said, “but it’s at the top of the hamstring. Every time you sit down, it’s putting weight on that part of the hamstring.”
In other words, it slows recovery time. Wilson said he first felt the pain during Wednesday night’s 14-inning win over Chicago and knew exactly what was wrong.
“It was a ball through the middle and I went to take two hard steps to my left and I had to stop,” he said.



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