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July 10, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Erik Bedard won’t pitch at least until Boston series, meaning maximum of two starts before trade deadline

NEWS BREAK: Michael Pineda just got added to the AL all-star team, replacing Justin Verlander.
We’re all about the future now and that means looking ahead to the July 31 trade deadline, where Erik Bedard could still be this team’s most valuable chip.
What’s that you say? You don’t want this to be all about the future just yet? Tell me about it. But the time to worry about that was a month ago. Sorry, nothing I can do about it now.
Want to know why it’s about the future? Because Michael Pineda won’t be pitching against Texas after the All-Star Break. The team still didn’t know that Pineda will pitch in Phoenix at Tuesday’s All-Star Game before making that decision. They had an idea, but had already made the decision to hold him out of what had loomed as a huge series with the Rangers. With the M’s losing ground by the second, they decided to skip him and go with a rotation of Jason Vargas, Doug Fister, Felix Hernandez and Blake Beavan.
Yes, that’s right. Beavan is pitching against the Rangers. Not Bedard.
That means Bedard won’t pitch until at least — emphasis on the “at least” part — July 22-24 in Boston. So, he’ll get a maximum of two starts by July 31.
If he pitches in Boston.

Bedard is out with what the team initially said was a mild sprain of his left knee. Sprains are indeed tricky because they involve some tearing — sometimes microscopic and sometimes a lot more severe — of at least one of the knee ligaments. And anyone who has ever torn one — minor or otherwise — can tell you it hurts. Especially when you’re using the knee to gain some torque on your pitches.
Why is this a big deal? Because of Bedard’s injury history. Teams will be reluctant to give up very much if there’s a perception that Bedard is damaged goods. Remember what happened with Jarrod Washburn and the Detroit Tigers two years ago. Washburn had some knee issues nobody even really knew about and was a disaster down the stretch after the Tigers traded Luke French and Mauricio Robles to the Mariners to get him.
So, with Bedard, when there’s a known injury and a known history of injury?
Let’s just say teams will want to see him out on a mound — and probably more than once — before making a firm offer.
The one consolation is that the Mariners could still move Bedard in August in a deal if he passed through waivers first. That way, teams could see more of Bedard pitching first, which could be good or bad for the Mariners depending on how that goes.
If I’m the M’s, I want him gone by July 31. No more taking chances.
But I’m not the M’s.
Now, if Bedard was claimed on waivers in August, whichever team picks him up would be on-the-hook for the remainder of his salary plus incentives accrued afterwards.
Depending on what those incentives turn out to be, that could save the M’s quite a bit of cash. But it doesn’t help you, the fans. You don’t get players in those types of deals. Well, you do if you negotiate with the claimant. But the more money Bedard is potentially owed, the lesser the players that will be offered up. And the more Bedard pitches, the more money he stands to earn in addition to his base salary via incentives.
Like I said, if you’re the M’s, you want this deal done by July 31. Get him off your hands. The time to keep Bedard was when you were still contending. Now? He’s a free agent after this season. And he won’t bring back compensatory draft picks when he leaves because he didn’t pitch last year and won’t score high enough on the two-year scale to rate any.
This could become a real problem.



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