Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Free Agent at the End of the Season: Erik Bedard

The fall has been quite steep for Erik Bedard. When Bedard arrived in Seattle two years ago, he was hailed as the Mariners newest ace and the guy, who would team with Felix Hernandez to give the Mariners one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball. The Mariners were willing to give up Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, and George Sherrill for Bedard even though they knew that Bedard was going to be a free agent after the 2009 season.

But now as Bedard plans to explore the free agent market for the first time, he will not be greeted by the lavish multi year contracts that the best pitchers are met with. And the reality is this: when Bedard is actually playing, he IS one of the best pitchers in baseball. But unfortunately for Bedard, the past two seasons have been riddled with injuries and as a result, he is too much of a liability right now for teams to commit to him long term.

What will the market hold for Bedard? Let's take a look:

The Case for Bedard

-Quality left handed starting pitcher

When Bedard is actually on the field, he's one of the best left handed starting pitchers in baseball. In 15 starts this season, Bedard struck out 90 in 83 innings, had a tremendous 2.82 ERA, and produced a 1.19 WHIP. In addition, who wouldn't want a starting pitcher with a K/9 rate of 9.8!

In addition, since 2006 Bedard's ERA has never exceeded 4 and his over the course of his career, Batters have only hit .247 against Bedard.

The Case against Bedard


Can Bedard actually stay healthy? That's the big question. Bedard has only started 30 games in the past two seasons and needs to prove to teams that he can stay healthy and productive for a full season.

Good teammate?

There have been numerous stories written about Bedard over the years stating that he's a quiet guy and somewhat of a strange dude. I don't really put too much stock into this, but we'll see if Bedard's reputation effects whether or not certain teams go after him.


-Because of Bedard's injury history over the past two seasons, there is no way that he should garner anything more than a one year deal with incentives. As a result, Bedard will be competing on the market with other pitchers with a history of injuries and performing well: Justin Duchscherer, Kelvim Escobar, Brett Myers, Jason Schmidt, etc.

The major advantage that Bedard has over the rest of those guys is that he's a left handed starting pitcher. In addition, I'd say that Bedard has more upside than the rest of the guys I listed.

Elias Ranking: Type B

-There's no way that the Mariners will offer Bedard arbitration. Bedard earned $7.75 million in 2009 and there would simply be too much risk in paying Bedard that much money when you take his injury history into account.

(1 year/$7 million) with incentives

Here are some comparable contracts:
Brad Penny (1 year/$5 million)
Jon Garland (1 year/$7 million)
John Smoltz (1 year/$5.5 million)


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Greg F. said...

I think Bedard at $7 million would be a great deal. He could probably be worth that after 80 innings. If you happen to get 160 or more out of him, you have a steal. I cant see a team giving him much more than that, but I think whoever gets him will get themselves a great value.

Jorge Says No! said...

I'd say $7 million is fair for Bedard with tons of incentives because if he's healthy, he's a $12-$15 million dollar a year pitcher.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Seattle get Bedard signed for $40MM over 5 years with incentives that can make the deal worth $55MM. I think he's worth the huge incentives. $3MM in incentives could look like this...
$250K for winning the Cy Young
$100K All-Star nomination
$200K Starting All-Star game
$100K for each of 100 IP, 120 IP, 140 IP, and 160 IP
$200K for each of 180 IP and 200 IP
$250K for 220+ IP
$100K for each 150 SO, 160 SO, 170 SO, 180 SO, 190 SO
$250K for each 200 SO and 225+ SO
$100K for each 20 GS, 24 GS, 28 GS, 32+ GS

The real payoffs all will come with consistent health, if he makes all his starts, he'll have 32+ starts with 220+ IP and 225+ SO, that will also put him in line for the Cy Young possibly and/or the All-Star game. Only $450K would be out of his control as he can pitch great but that doesn't mean he'll win the Cy Young or start the All-Star game, but the rest is well within his reach! The Mariners need to lock him up and he's easily a $20MM a year pitcher if he can avoid the injuries, so giving 1/2 that based on incentives would be a steal. Even if he keeps suffering injuries he's worth the $40MM base plus the few incentives that would be attainable with minimal effort.

Anonymous said...

Bedard will be the opening day starter for the O's.
Bedard 2010:
25 starts and a blown labrum.
Bedard 2011:
Ice Fisherman