Seattle Mariners: 5 Reasons They Fleeced Everyone in the Erik Bedard Trade
In the Seattle Mariners' biggest trade of the 2011 deadline series, they sent Erik Bedard and Josh Fields to the Boston Red Sox in a three-way trade that also involved the Los Angeles Dodgers. In return for the pair of pitchers, they received outfielders Trayvon Robinson from the Dodgers and Chih-Hsien Chiang from the Sox.
The deal was announced just after the deadline hit at 4 p.m. on July 31, and it was the second trade in which the Mariners were involved this year.
The other sent another member of their starting rotation, Doug Fister, and reliever David Pauley to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for starting pitcher replacement Charlie Furbush, power-hitting outfielder Casper Wells and third baseman Francisco Martinez, plus a player to be named later, reportedly reliever Chance Ruffin.
The Fister trade yielded immediate gains through Furbush and Wells, but the Bedard deal should have a bigger long-term impact—especially since the Mariners got an awesome deal.
Erik Bedard Can't Succeed in Boston
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Pitching with the Red Sox means going back to the dreaded AL East and lots of games against the New York Yankees. Over the past four years, Bedard has only pitched against the Yankees twice (indicative of his overall lack of pitching), but in those two starts he accumulated two losses and an ERA of 7.94.
It's true that he looked better against the Yankees back in 2006 and 2007, when he was with the Orioles, but he's gone a good bit downhill from there. The old pitcher is still there, but rarely to be released because of frequent trips to the DL.
He's also 32 years old, which is when a normal pitcher might be reaching the end of his prime. Very few pitchers can bounce back from injuries at Bedard's age to reach their original form, and Bedard hasn't done anything to show us that he will.
Basically, Bedard's career is on the decline, and pitching in the AL East, often against the Yankees and in high-pressure situations, won't help.
The Mariners Got Exactly What They Wanted
The Mariners' biggest and most persistent problem has been a major lack of power for a few years running. Unfortunately, bringing Ken Griffey Jr. back wasn't the solution.
For a while, the idea was to rebuild the team around fielding; it's clear now that that wasn't the best plan (which supports the idea that hitting is much more valuable than fielding).
But now the M's are finally taking big steps in the right direction. The movement began at the start of the 2011 season, when players like Carlos Peguero and Greg Halman were called up. Dustin Ackley and Mike Carp both received midseason call-ups and have shown that they're ready to contribute and compete at the major league level.
With the addition of Chiang and Robinson, the Mariners have shown true commitment to the mending of their tattered batting order. They're finally trading pitching for hitting—something Mariners fans have been yearning for, desperately, for too long.
Robinson is already up in the majors and hit his first major league home run this week. Chiang is one of the most hyped hitting prospects in the entire league with an ability to hit for both power and average.
Run support is on the horizon.
They Also Dealt Exactly What They Wanted
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Getting rid of Erik Bedard was near the top of GM Jack Zduriencik's wish list going into the 2011 trade deadline.
All Bedard's done since he came to Seattle in 2008 is injure himself, with very few spans of good pitching in between. Supposedly there's still a Cy Young pitcher hidden somewhere behind the injuries, but we'll never see him for more than a week or two at a time.
Without Bedard causing issues, the Mariners have already been able to establish more consistency in the starting rotation with acquisitions and minor league call-ups (Charlie Furbush and Blake Beavan) to complement Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda and Jason Vargas.
The loss of Josh Fields was essentially harmless due to the plethora of promising, young pitchers who are up-and-coming on the farm.
The Red Sox Were Desperate
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The Red Sox, as always, are contending for the AL East pennant, the AL championship and the World Series. They have the hitting to do it, but in order for them to ultimately succeed, they need a solid four-man rotation to match that of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Unfortunately for them, they've been severely plagued by injuries, just like last season, including injuries to two members of their starting rotation: Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Thus, it was imperative that they add an insurance pitcher before the trade deadline who could potentially pitch at the necessary caliber.
Bedard was the best available option during the closing days of July, so the Red Sox had to pay extra for him.
The Mariners Got the Best Value
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In a comparison solely of overall value, the Mariners easily win.
For the Red Sox: Bedard has a lot of talent, but his value is steadily decreasing with his age and injury-proneness. Josh Fields hasn't earned any value yet—he has yet to prove himself.
For the Dodgers: Stephen Fife claims maybe the third-highest value of all the players involved in this deal. He has pitched exceptionally well in AA thus far this year, but pitchers are always riskier than hitters. Tim Federowicz hasn't been anything special, certainly not close to the performance of Chiang and Robinson.
For the Mariners: Just stat lines. Through 87 games in Double-A, Chiang has hit .338 with 36 doubles, four triples and 18 home runs. Robinson hit .293 with nine doubles, six triples and 26 home runs in 100 Triple-A games.
Robinson is the only minor leaguer from the trade to have reached the majors so far, and he looks to keep his spot for a little while longer.