Houston Astros Sign Free-Agent Pitcher Erik Bedard

Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer IJanuary 22, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 12:  Erik Bedard #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the San Diego Padres during the game on August 12, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Houston Astros signed left-handed starting pitcher Erik Bedard to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. The signing was first reported on the Twitter feed of journalist Marc Brassard.

In 2006 and 2007, Bedard looked like one of the young elite pitchers in the game. A 15-game winner with the lowly 2006 Baltimore Orioles, he finished in the top five for the Cy Young vote in 2007. 

The Orioles sent the left-hander packing before the 2008 season to Seattle in a deal that sent Adam Jones to Baltimore. Injuries have since derailed his career that has shown flashes of brilliance.

His career 3.85 ERA is solid and he pitched well in 2011 with the Mariners before being dealt to the Boston Red Sox in time for their epic collapse.

Bedard was the Pirates' Opening Day starter for 2012, but ultimately was released after posting a 5.01 ERA over 125.2 innings.

He will get another shot with the lowly Astros. The team has cobbled together a rotation going into their first American League season. They have a combination of young pitchers like Lucas Harrell and discarded arms, like Phillip Humber.

A healthy and effective Bedard might be a long shot for the Astros. But it is a low risk and potentially high reward move for a team that can only go up.

Left-handed starters who are only a year or so removed from being effective do not grow on trees. The Astros hope there is a little life left in that arm.