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Jones+ For Erik Bedard

January 27, 2008

With all due respect to Jeff Clarke, I don’t think I can look at Detect-O-Vision right now without wanting to fight someone.

A few months ago, the Tigers traded one of the top outfield prospects in the game, Cameron Maybin, and one of the top pitching prospects, Andrew Miller, away for one of the very best hitters in all of baseball and a vastly overrated starting pitcher.

We know that Jones is part of the deal, and Jones is better than Maybin. His MLB comps range from Mike Cameron to Torii Hunter to Ron Gant to Carlos Beltran. His defense alone (he played center field in the minor leagues)  makes him worth the same to a ball club as an Erik Bedard. You can check out this great USS Mariner post if you want more details about how the two compare (Oh, and yeah, “great USS Mariner post” is redundant).

So it’s understood that Jones > Bedard, right? Then here’s what makes the trade the 2008 equivalent of the 2002 deal that sent Bartolo Colon from Cleveland to Montreal in exchange for Grady Sizemore, Brandon Philips, Cliff Lee, and Lee Stevens. According to Jason Churchill, the M’s are sending over wonderkid Kameron Mickolio, top rated 2006 second round draft pick Chris Tillman, highly touted 2006 third round pick Tony Butler, and one of the absolute best lefty relievers in all of baseball, George Sherrill. Here are some problems with this move:

1. It strips our bullpen of its second best reliever.

2. Mickilio is likely MLB-ready. The Mariners have had no trouble developing young relievers, but that’s no reason to give away your latest one.

3. We gave away our 2006 second and third round picks. Tillman alone was widely considered a steal – someone who should have gone in the first round. If you’re having trouble picturing how ridiculous this is, imagine what trading your second and third round picks in the NFL draft would net you.

4. Our 2008 rotation is much improved. However, Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista are out of here after the 2009 season. Unless we luck out in our ’08 draft with a college pitcher, or the team wises up and puts Morrow in Tacoma to develop, we’re not going to have anyone ready to take their place. That was going to be Tillman and Butler’s role. We have other guys in our system, like Aumont and Ramirez, but it seems unlikely to count on them to be ready.

5. As I alluded to in my last point, Brandon Morrow. Our rotation is now full, and while it may make sense to send Morrow to the minors to let him work on his change-up and slider in preparation for 2010, this is a Mariner team that’s interested in winning now. It’s also a Mariner team that has just lost two bullpen arms. 2-1 odds say that Brandon Morrow is back in the bullpen this season. And next year. And the year after that.

That’s five very big problems with what we’re giving up for Bedard. And those are all to be considered AFTER you realize that Erik Bedard isn’t worth Jones in the first place.

What we’re going to have in 2008 is a starting rotation that’s absolutely tops. For as little sense as this trade makes, don’t get me wrong – Bedard is a legit ace. An ace who has trouble staying healthy and who likely won’t want to sign an extension with us, but an ace nonetheless. That allows Felix to slide into the #2 spot in the rotation, where there will be a lot less pressure on him to lead the club, and where he matches up well against any #2 in baseball. Carlos Silva, Beluga Tits, and Washburn make a fine middle and back end to any rotation.

You can expect the M’s to sign a player like Brad Wilkerson to man right field. Maybe we’ll make a trade for Jason Bay, but considering Pittsburgh’s likely asking price, I doubt it. Either way, our defense is going to be atrocious. Raul Ibanez was Manny-bad in left field last season, and Wilkerson (or Bay) ain’t much better. Our outfield had trouble last year, and it’s unlikely to be any better this time around. For every fly ball that drops this season, take a drink and think “Adam Jones would have had that.”

Katal

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One comment

  1. Katal is one of the most informed fans out there. I can’t agree with him more. Keep up the good work, Katal!



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