Rumors started flying this morning that Orioles lefty ace Erik Bedard is finally on his way out of Baltimore and headed to the rain-soaked confines of Safeco Field and the Seattle Mariners.
For any Orioles fan, the only beacon of light continuing to shine on the hope of keeping Bedard is the fact that the team is still in denial over the deal. Outfield prospect Adam Jones is rumored to be the centerpiece of the package coming to Baltimore.
Bedard gets a HUGE fantasy upgrade by getting out of Baltimore. He had a nice season in 2007 (13 wins, 5 losses, 3.16 ERA, 221 strikeouts), and should be expected to deliver again in 2008. He won’t have to face the Yanks or Sawks as often, has a lineup that will provide run support, and will be playing for a contender. Bedard should win 15 or more in ’08 with similar numbers in ERA and K’s to 2007. While I’m scared of making an overhype statement, Bedard should be a top-5 pitcher on draft day 2008.
Jones has a lot of potential (.294 batting average, 25 homers, 84 RBI in 2007 at AAA), but will have to start showing it on the big league field before he holds fantasy value. Receiving Jones is a nice piece to the rebuilding puzzle, but it leaves the O’s a young and (largely) unproven outfield on Opening Day (Jones, Nick Markakis, Luke Scott). Until Jones shows flashes of his potential on the major league level, don’t draft him unless you are in a deep, AL-only league.
On the real field of play, the O’s needed to rebuild. But why are they trading their premier pitcher? Why ship away a player of value with two years left on his deal? Bedard would likely have even more trade value NEXT season.
Trading a lefty, ace pitcher with two years left on his deal during a rebuilding process doesn’t make sense to me.
For us fantasy geeks, at least Bedard is going to pitch for a winner. His value receives a major upgrade when the deal becomes final.