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Thanks and farewell, Erik

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Some will say that saying anything is saying something too quick. But Erik Bedard is all but gone -- the physicals need to be passed, and that's it.

So I think we should wish Erik Bedard a nice goodbye. One time I lost faith in Erik Bedard. I even creatively titled that post, "I've lost faith in Erik Bedard."

He was pretty awesome from that point on. I like to think it was entirely because of that.

Obviously the 2008 team isn't going to be quite as good without Bedard as it would have been with him anchoring the rotation. The guy pitched like a beast in 2007, throwing under 200 innings and nearly leading the league in strikeouts anyway. Bedard with Safeco Field behind him? Look out, Cy Young Award.

Truthfully, I've always sort of hated the Mariners. But Bedard is someone I'll root for. Just not against us.

And let's welcome the new Orioles, reported to be Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, George Sherrill, Kam Mickolio and Tony Butler. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis in the outfield in '08? Count me in. That could seriously be a dynamic 3-4 punch in the lineup for a decade or more.

The Mariners are getting a stud lefty for their package of young talent (and George Sherrill). All that remains to be seen about the 2008 Opening Day Orioles is whether or not Andy MacPhail will pull one more deal out of his hat and send Brian Roberts to the Chicago Cubs.

I'm honestly looking forward to watching the O's this year. They might lose 100 games. It's a very real possibility. But I get the feeling it'll be a lot more enjoyable to watch a team that is at least trying to point themselves in a direction lose 100 games than it is watching a rudderless mess of a team lose 90. There will be days when Markakis and Jones and all the rest really look like a team that could be going somewhere. And that'll be exciting.

Jeremy Guthrie: Staff Ace. Go figure. To be fair, that was a role that many envisioned for Guthrie when he was drafted. But he's only getting there now after years of stagnation and failure.

What else do you really say? We sent off our two best players so far this offseason. We're leaving this franchise in the hands of Andy MacPhail and, eventually, a boat of young talent. There is no longer any shortage of legit pitching prospects in Baltimore. Olson, Liz, Patton, Albers, Tillman, Penn, Loewen is still really a prospect more than anything, Erbe, etc. It's a nice group. I'm not saying all of them will pan out. Maybe NONE of them do. But I think it's likely that we can shape a rotation out of that group.

Matt Wieters could be on this team by the end of the season. Markakis, Jones and Wieters? That's legit. That's bona fide.

It's almost bizarre to think of the Orioles as a team with young talent that has a base and can actually be going somewhere. But that's the way I'm seeing it. And that beats the garbage we've endured for 10 years.

So far, so good for the MacPhail era Orioles.