Seattle has become rather quickly disenchanted with Erik Bedard. But it isn't his numbers that have writers, fans, and a certain ex-general manager up in arms. It's pieces of Erik's character that were evident long before we shipped him to the Pacific Northwest.
From Jim Caple of ESPN.com:
Most everyone liked the deal for Bedard, who was expected to join Felix Hernandez to give Seattle the best 1-2 punch in the league.
Well, things didn't quite work out as expected. Bedard hasn't performed poorly, especially when you consider that he apparently is pitching without a gut or a spine. He routinely bails out of games at the 100-pitch mark so he can go set up the Cone of Silence at his locker, which is hardly what you're looking for in your ace.
Well, Jim, when didn't Erik run for the showers after a win in Baltimore, let alone a loss. His post-game pressers, when they actually happened, were stuff of legend with The Sun. I'm pretty sure Roch actually had a bet on how few sentences Erik would utter before he left. This isn't exactly new.
Over the past week, Seattle was the worst sports town in America.
It fell to the bottom of the standings faster than Erik Bedard asks out of games. The futility astounded.
Well, Jerry, Erik wasn't exactly a late inning stud when he was with the Orioles, either. But as Stacey pointed out in a post earlier this month, Erik isn't that far off what other "ace" pitchers do in pitch counts:
But like you said, there is so much more wrong with the Mariners than Erik Bedard.
I thought the "100 pitch pitcher" line was pretty interesting, so I looked up his stats. In his 12 starts this year, he has pitched over 100 on 6 of them, although it's usually between 100-110. In fact, 110 is the most pitches he's thrown all year. Last year he made 28 starts, and he pitched over 100 pitches in 21 of them (75%). He did go deeper last year, though, throwing greater than 110 pitches 10 times, the most being 120. For comparison's sake, since Erik was obtained by Seattle to be their "ace," here are some stats on other teams aces (2007 season).
Boston: In 30 starts, Josh Beckett pitched greater than 100 pitches in 20 of them (67%) . He pitched greater than 110 pitches in 10 starts, and the most in one game was 118 (once).
Cleveland: In 34 starts, C.C. Sabathia pitched greater than 100 pitches in 27 of them (79%). He pitched greater than 110 pitches in 8 times, most in one game 119 (twice)
Tampa Bay: In 34 starts, Scott Kazmir pitched greater than 100 pitches in 26 of them (76%). He pitched greater than 110 pitches 11 times, most in one game 118.
So, Erik is doing what other ace pitchers do in terms of pitch count, or not far from it, at least.
My main question is this: Didn't ANYONE in the M's organization do ANY due diligence? How is any of this a surprise? Erik's started 30 games in a season once. Once. He's been on the DL, I believe, almost every season he's been in the majors. He's had a Tommy John surgery. And he's never done press. Ever. Dude grew up speaking French (or whatever version of the language they speak in Canada) and didn't learn conversational English until college.
One writer who does get it right is Chris Bahr of the Sporting News. I don't usually read his stuff, so I don't know if he's typically a hack or what, but he pinpoints why Seattle fans SHOULD be mad at Bedard. Not the terse press conferences. Not his perceived lack of toughness. But the fact that he stinks this year as a pitcher. His thoughts:
In addition to his severe case of the ouchies, Bedard's stats have taken a nosedive with his new team. His K/9 is down, his K/BB and K/9 ratios are his worst since the 2004 season, and his WHIP has skyrocketed. One preseason prognostication has proved true, however: his success at Safeco Field. Bedard has a 2.30 ERA in seven home starts and a 6.59 ERA in six road starts.
And as I noted in a recent Inside Pitch column, take away Bedard's two strong starts against the Red Sox -- a team he always seems to torment -- and his ERA goes from 3.97 to 4.63.
I guess I'm amazed that a corporation worth hundreds of millions would devote 5 players it has developed and the promise of tens of millions of dollars on a player it knew nothing more about than a 2 minute search on www.baseball-reference.comwould have yielded. Honestly, surprised by the advesarial relationship with the media? Really? Surprised at the early exits from the game and the clubhouse? Really? Did you ask anyone associated with Baltimore - beat writers, clubhouse staff, former O's employees, Leo Mazzone - what problems Erik might bring?
With that much money and that number of players on the line, if the Mariners didn't know what they were getting with Erik Bedard, then don't cry now when he acts likes he's acted for the last 3 years. We won't shed a tear.
UPDATE 1: Gotta add what Bill Bavasi said on his way out the door:
This is what Bavasi said after his firing when asked why Bedard couldn't go beyond 100 pitches in half of his first 12 starts:
"You got to ask him," Bavasi said. "Good luck. And he's going to have some stupid answer, some dumbass answer." (Corrected for original language - The Sun edited his remark)
How this man lasted this long as a general manager is beyond me. He never knew this about Erik? Really? And it isn't like Erik didn't tell them he wasn't their pitching messiah. After his first start (from the same article as above):
I ain't God. I ain't going to do miracles here," Bedard said in April. "I am going to do my best and try to do what I did last year, and if it happens, it happens."
See, no Orioles fan was surprised in the least by that quote. That's Erik being Erik. And yet they're shocked. Good luck trading him, guys. We'll give you Luis Hernandez and Brandon Fahey to take him off your hands if you want. We're used to it.