Monday, February 4, 2008

Orioles Finally Appear Ready to Deal Erik Bedard

After making the Mariners sweat for a week or so, the Orioles finally appear ready to deal Erik Bedard. Let’s see how it stacks up.

Seattle will get two years of a lefthanded starter who’s primed to dominate.

And Baltimore gets a ton of young talent. Adam Jones, the guy who nearly queered the deal by leaking it to a Dominican newspaper reporter, is a top-shelf center field prospect. He’s 22 and elicits oohs and ahs from baseball nerds. With Jones and Nick Markakis in their outfield, the O’s have the beginnings of something great. Of course, there are seven other positions they need to fill, so … y’know.

The Birds also get Chris Tillman, a high-hopes 20-year-old righthander who sounds like he’ll begin the season at double-A Bowie. They get George Sherrill, a lefty who’s been a late-inning specialty guy with the M’s but who’ll probably be Baltimore’s closer, seeing as how Chris Ray is out for 2008.

Single-A pitcher Tony Butler and triple-A find Kam Mickolio round out the deal for the O’s.

Most baseball people seem to agree that the deal gives both teams what they’re looking for, but that Seattle’s investment has been huge. Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone quotes Baseball America’s John Manuel as saying the M’s are sacrificing more talent for Bedard than the Mets did for Johan Santana. I don’t know about that. But it sounds good.

Orioles GM Andy MacPhail has, this off-season made the kind of deals the organization should have made years ago. What’s more, he’s shown he’s a master of supply-and-demand, when-to-hold-’em/fold ‘em trade negotiations. He dealt Miguel Tejada for five talented Houston Astros - four of whom are already on the O’s roster - on the day before Tejada turned up juicy in the Mitchell Report. And, last summer, he dealt cadaver Steve Trachsel to the Cubs for some live human beings.

Look out. Andy MacPhail don’t play.