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Thread: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

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    Kmac5 KoryMac5's Avatar
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    Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    SURPRISE, Ariz. – Erik Bedard’s grace period ended Wednesday afternoon, amid the light desert air and beneath a high sky, a soft breeze angling toward right field, in a place where fat fastballs and imprecise curveballs hold no true significance.

    Not, anyway, for a man expected to push the Seattle Mariners past the Los Angeles Angels and to the organization’s first AL West title in seven years. And not, perhaps, for a man with one of the terrific arms in the game.

    Seven weeks ago, the Mariners ponied up five players for Bedard, a trade that cost them everybody’s favorite prospect (outfielder Adam Jones), a setup reliever (George Sherrill) who will be the Baltimore Orioles’ closer and three promising arms.

    All that’s at stake now, five days from Bedard’s opening-day start against the Texas Rangers, is the club’s immediate future and its distant future, along with, possibly, the careers of some of its front-office staff. These are, after all, the kinds of trades that steer organizations and forge reputations, and this was an all-in move for GM Bill Bavasi and friends.

    In the meanwhile, Bedard threw six more innings, these against the Kansas City Royals, and allowed four more runs.

    In 24 spring innings – generally meaningless as long as Bedard carried a healthy arm from the mound after each of them – he allowed 23 earned runs. He allowed nine home runs. He had 10 strikeouts and eight walks.
    That’s not very good, of course. But, as the fellas say, he was just getting his work in. And, as a bonus, he was contributing to his outfielders’ conditioning as well. It’s all about teamwork.

    So far, there’s nothing to say Bedard’s arm isn’t sound. His fastball, thrown out of that familiar cross-body path, on Wednesday was in the low 90s. He threw more curveballs than he had in his previous spring starts, suggesting an area of emphasis. But, two more home runs (one was inside the park and misplayed by Jeremy Reed in center field, but still carried about 400 feet), not enough swings and misses (for the AL’s leader in strikeouts per nine innings) and plenty of hearty cuts from a Royals lineup that wouldn’t scare off too many pitchers.

    All of which found Bedard reclined in a clubhouse folding chair, shoes kicked off, half-gnawed apple in his pitching hand. Already he’s earned a reputation among Seattle writers for being as minimally cooperative as possible while still technically responding to questions. He was aloof and dismissive again Wednesday, so difficult to read on the topics of his spring and summer. He stands on the brink of taking the ball for the first contending team he’ll play on, sporting a spring ERA of nearly 9, and the request was to describe his responsibility pitching from the top of the rotation when the expectations are so high.

    “I have no idea,” he said. “I don’t have any.”

    No idea? Or no responsibility?

    “No responsibility,” he said.

    Presumably, he doesn’t believe that. Presumably, Bavasi won’t read that and have his head explode.

    The Mariners’ season could turn on Bedard. The offense won’t be especially productive, not with Jose Guillen gone and replaced by Brad Wilkerson. The bullpen will miss Sherrill. If they are to overtake the broader-based Angels, made momentarily vulnerable by injuries to Kelvim Escobar, John Lackey and Scot Shields, the rotation will do much of the heavy lifting. That means Felix Hernandez, Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista and Carlos Silva, too, but there’s a reason manager John McLaren is giving the ball to Bedard first.

    He once was a developing ace on a bad team in a hitters’ ballpark. Now he’s a full-bird ace on a good team in a pitchers’ park.

    And, in his final tune-up before standing in front of all of Seattle and making the people believe again, Bedard revealed his preparatory plan.

    “I didn’t have a plan,” he said. “Just went out there and threw strikes.”

    Technically, that’s a plan.

    “I feel good,” he said. “My arm feels good. That’s all I can ask for, to stay healthy.”

    He was asked if this was the stuff he intended on carrying into his Monday night start.

    “Four runs, six innings? No,” he said.

    All right, then how does that get tidied up?

    “I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see when the game starts. I’ll figure it out as we go.”

    Probably, he’ll be the same pitcher as last season, maybe better, given the ballpark. Probably, he’ll take some of the focus off Hernandez, for whom Bedard will someday abdicate the designation of staff ace. And, probably, this is all very important to Bedard, meaning he’ll start locating his fastball and curveball better, maybe in time for the big game on Monday.

    And, as reporters were turning to leave his locker Wednesday afternoon, having learned nothing about why he’d been hittable for a month, Bedard was heard to sigh and say, “That was painful.”

    He had no idea. This was only the grace period.
    I see Mr. Bedard is off to a rough spring both on the mound and off of it. I know it is just spring training but the honeymoon period may be over very quickly in Seattle. Which brings up a good question, how much influence do beat writers have on fan opinion in regards to a player?

    My opinion is that if a player is playing well the message of the sports media may have a hard time getting through to fans. If he struggles like JR did it won't take long for the media to drive their message home.

    I would imagine Marty and Bedard would have gotten along great.
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  3. #2
    Boom Goes the Dynamite Screwball's Avatar
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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    If Fay calls Homer Bailey "terse," I wonder what he'd have to say about Bedard...
    Last edited by Screwball; 03-27-2008 at 02:01 AM.

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    Member CTA513's Avatar
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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    9 homeruns in 24 innings? Was he just throwing fastballs down the middle of the plate?

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    Member membengal's Avatar
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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    "Really terse"

  6. #5
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    So the hatchet jobs have already begun.

    Bedard usually starts the season with two or three mediocre outings. I'd love to see the bile spewed by the Seattle press two weeks from now.

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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    Weren't there reports Seattle was trying to get him signed long-term? The trade looks better if they can lock him up.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    If the Seattle press turns on him early, that is not going to help.

    It is essential, given what Seattle gave up, to sign him long term. Otherwise, it was a truly awful deal for the Ms.

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    Quote Originally Posted by CTA513 View Post
    9 homeruns in 24 innings? Was he just throwing fastballs down the middle of the plate?
    Several of the homers hit against him were products of the environment that wouldn't have occurred in most major league stadiums.

    I suspect the Seattle press will worship the ground Bedard walks upon....
    "This isn’t stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    I suspect the Seattle press will worship the ground Bedard walks upon....
    Even if he doesn't fill their notebooks with garrulous gab?
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

  11. #10
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    Even if he doesn't fill their notebooks with garrulous gab?
    They've got Raul and Bloomquist for that.....
    "This isn’t stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    I suspect the Seattle press will worship the ground Bedard walks upon....
    Yes, by mid-May.

    But I think mid-April will be the nadir.

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    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    Quote Originally Posted by KoryMac5 View Post
    I see Mr. Bedard is off to a rough spring both on the mound and off of it. I know it is just spring training but the honeymoon period may be over very quickly in Seattle. Which brings up a good question, how much influence do beat writers have on fan opinion in regards to a player?
    Prime example is Chad Johnson of the Bengals.

    Initially his antics were cute, enjoyable, harmless....now he wants traded and columnists are speaking harshly of him and there are a lot of fans clamoring for his departure.

    Junior Griffey. Lots of stories come out about how hard he works to come back, and people love that. A few come out about how he's been a bust and people want to to dump him.

    I'd say lots of fans are easily swayed by the medias opinion of a player or team.

    Bedard better learn to suck up to the media a little if he cares how he is received in the great northwest.

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    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    Spring training is not a large enough sample size to portend anything.

  15. #14
    Boom Goes the Dynamite Screwball's Avatar
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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom Heffner View Post
    Spring training is not a large enough sample size to portend anything.
    Except for terseness.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Bedard Off to a Rough Start

    This just in: According to Josias Manzinillo and Danny Serafini, Spring Training stats are completely meaningless. Not the "take them with a grain of salt" kind of meaningless, "stop looking at them, they tell us absolutely nothing about what the guy is going to do during the season" kind of meaningless.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.


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