Mariners' Erik Bedard: Re-Sign for Low Risk, High Reward

Seattle SportsnetCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 24:  Erik Bedard #45 of the Seattle Mariners throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 24, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  The Mariners won 8-3.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Mariners might bring Erik Bedard back.

I might learn how to fly.

Rosie O’Donnell might not be gay.

Or, Magnum P.I. might one day return to prime time television.

These are all things that might happen. Or might not. I mean, there’s a chance. But there’s also no chance.

Who really knows for sure?

The fact is, we’re blowing this Erik Bedard rumor way out of proportion. Sure, it’s fun to talk about, but in reality, it’s basically just water-cooler fodder.

Let’s think about this for a minute.

If—and that’s a big “if”—the Mariners do decide to bring Bedard back, they’ll do so at almost no cost to the organization. Chances are, the team will give him an incentive-laden, one-year deal and little more, seeing as how the lefty won’t be able to pitch until midseason; he had shoulder surgery last year.

Of course, if the M’s choose to let him walk, there’s a good chance that NOBODY will give Bedard a shot and he’ll spend some time away from baseball.

Really, when you think about it, how many teams are in the market for a fragile pitcher who won’t suit up until June or July, AND who carries around the reputation of being an aloof jerk?

Few, if any.

But even in saying that, you cannot deny Bedard’s talent.

When he’s healthy—jerk or not—he has some of the best stuff in the game. A low-to-mid-90s fastball, paired alongside one of the nastiest curve balls you’ll ever see, makes for a hell of an arsenal. It’s no wonder this guy was touted as one of the best up-and-comers in the game when Bill Bavasi made that fateful trade a few years back.

Anyone who has watched baseball over the years or has played the game themselves, can tell you that Erik Bedard is a pitching phenom. He just can’t stay in one piece, and that’s a problem.

There are many people out there who don’t want to see Erik Bedard get another shot with Seattle for a variety of reasons.

He’s a reminder of the Bavasi era; he’s a reminder of the worst trade in team history; he’s always hurt; and he’s kind of a prick. I can see that, and it makes sense.

Frankly, this guy has dicked over the Seattle fan base in so many ways.

He has pulled himself out of critical ballgames; he couldn’t play through pain; he was outwardly rude to the fans and the media, and for better or worse, he doesn’t seem concerned with playing baseball.

From that point of view, Bedard simply isn’t worthy of another shot to impress this city.

But at the same time, you have to consider where he’s at now: If it’s not rock bottom, it’s awfully close.

Bedard is on the verge of watching his career slip away from him, without ever having signed a big free agent contract. This was supposed to be the offseason that the southpaw was raking in the dough.

Instead, he’ll be lucky to earn any money in 2010.

His attitude has cost him. His body has betrayed him. And if he can’t recover physically and mentally, he’ll end up back on the farm—literally, his parents own a farm in Ontario.

The point is, it’s now or never with Bedard and even the biggest jerk in the world can see that.

So why not try to capitalize on this guy’s recovery? Why not make a low-risk, high-reward offer to a guy who’s capable of being the best, but just hasn’t been able to put it all together quite yet?

There is little doubt in my mind that whether the Mariners re-sign Bedard or not, they’ll be just fine. At this point in his career, he’s neither an ace, nor anywhere near it.

But if you ask me, investing in Bedard at this point in time makes a lot of sense. It’s called buying low.

And right now, you can’t get any lower than Erik Bedard.


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