On February, 8, 2008, the Baltimore Orioles traded Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners for a five player package. Bedard was coming off a brilliant 2007 season with the O's where he went 13-5 with 221 strikeouts, even though he missed most of the last month of the season due to injury. Unfortunately for the O's, Bedard's brilliant campaign didn't parlay to overall team success as they finished 69-93 and fourth place in the AL East.
Newly hired GM Andy MacPhail plans for the future didn't involve Bedard, as he knew this franchise wasn't only one or two players from the future and would need several years to develop a talented core. The Bedard exchange to Seattle was also MacPhail's second trade in three months where the O's were the beneficiaries of a one for five exchange after Miguel Tejada was traded to the Astros in December of 2007.
At the time of the deal, Adam Jones was one of the Mariners' top prospects yet he hadn't really proved himself in the bigs. George Sherrill was considered a left handed specialist that hadn't closed since 2005 in AAA ball. Chris Tillman and Tony Butler were only 19 and 20-year old prospects, and 23-year old Kam Mickolio projected as a possible middle reliever at best.
Now in July of 2009 one and a half seasons after the deal, the consensus around the game is that the Mariners were robbed. Jones is hitting over .300 this season and is on pace for 25 home runs and nearly 100 RBIs and was recently named to his first All Star team. Sherrill has 18 saves on a team with only 36 wins, has nearly a three to one K/BB ratio, and provides the O's with a coveted pitcher at the trading deadline.
The trio of minor league pitchers is also now figuring into why the Orioles were the hands down winners in this deal. Chris Tillman has a four to one K/BB ratio and a 2.69 ERA this season at AAA Norfolk and was recently named to the roster for the futures All Star Game. Mickolio recently was called up to the Orioles and seems to be making strides, and Butler is developing in Single-A but he is currently on the DL.
So in review, the Orioles have Adam Jones, the youngest 2009 Major League All Star at 23, 21-year old Chris Tillman who most likely will make his big leage debut in the near future, and George Sherrill who has exceeded all expectations, thanks to Erik Bedard and the Seattle Mariners.
Bedard meanwhile only threw 81 innings last season and also has spent time on the disabled list this season. His "brilliant" tenure in Seattle may soon be over as well, as he is a free agent after the 2009 season.
Thank you Seattle, for giving Baltimore fans hope in Jones, Tillman, and the rest of the young players in this organization. Ironically, Bedard is scheduled to take the mound tonight against his formery battery mates. A win for the Birds would be a great punctuation for this article, even though Bedard's on my fantasy team!