Posted by Matt Clapp | 6/05/2008 02:45:00 AM | Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles, Chris Tillman, Erik Bedard, George Sherrill, Kam Mickolio, Seattle Mariners, Tony Butler
On February 8th, the Seattle Mariners acquired starting pitcher Erik Bedard from the rebuilding Batlimore Orioles for five players. It was a deal that was supposed to immediately make the Mariners a legitimate threat in the American League after they went 88-74 in 2007, and many picked them to win the American League West.
Let's examine how the players involved in the trade are doing this season:
Erik Bedard- 4-4, 4.47 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .229 BAA, 49 K/26 K In 56.1 IP. 3-2, 2.19 ERA At Home. 1-2, 8.85 ERA On Road.
Adam Jones- Starting CF For Orioles. 2 HR, 23 RBI, 5 SB, .251 AVG, .648 OPS.
George Sherrill- Closer For Orioles. 19 Saves, 3.16 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .169 BAA.
Tony Butler- Starting Pitcher For Delmarva(Single-A). 2-2, 3.59 ERA, 34 K/7 BB In 42.2 IP.
Chris Tillman-Starting Pitcher Bowie(Double-A). 6-0, 2.68 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .188 BAA. 50 K And 2 HR Allowed In 53.2 IP.
Kam Mickolio- Relief Pitcher Bowie(Double-A). 3.81 ERA, 19 Games Pitched, 26 K And 1 HR Allowed In 28.1 IP.
Although Erik Bedard isn't the reason that the Mariners are 15.5 games back of the Angels right now, he really isn't helping much. An ERA of 4.47 certainly isn't terrible in the AL(league average ERA is 3.95) and he might have a couple more wins if not for the Mariners' horrid offense, but he isn't meeting the expectations of the #1 or #2 starter that the Mariners thought they were getting. They envisioned him and 22-year-old phenom Felix Hernandez(3-5, 3.29 ERA) being a dominant 1-2 punch, that could possibly take them far in the playoffs. Well, the playoffs are clearly out of the picture now. Bedard's home/road splits are clearly the most worrisome stats to me. Safeco Park is a pitcher's park, so although he has great numbers there, it should be expected out of a quality pitcher. However, on the road, the ERA of 8.85 is alarming.
What makes this all worse for the Mariners, is the performance and potential of the 5 players they gave to the Orioles.
Baseball America ranked Adam Jones the 28th best prospect in baseball in 2007, and he was the centerpiece of this deal. He's considered a five-tool player, and projects to be a terrific centerfielder that hits 20+ home runs. He's got a great arm as well, and was a pitcher in high school that would hit 95 mph on the radar gun. This is his first chance to get to play everyday at the MLB level, and he's shown glimpses of his tremendous talent. He showed that this past Sunday against the Red Sox, coming through with a rocket bases-clearing double off the wall, that would prove to be the game-winning hit.
George Sherrill has 19 saves for the Orioles. The Mariners have 21 total wins! That might be the most incredible statistic in baseball this year. We might have to start a Sherrill Save/Seattle Win Watch on here. Sherrill wouldn't close over J.J. Putz in Seattle, but they certainly wouldn't mind having him as a setup man right now. He's almost surely going to be at Yankee Stadium for the All-Star Game in July, while Bedard sits at home in Seattle. Who would have thought that?
Now the prospects currently in the Minors for the Orioles... One thing I really like is the size of the young pitchers the Orioles picked up, and that there's potential for all of these kids to get much better. Some pitchers don't fully use their size to their advantage, and the right pitching coach can change that. A lot of these guys haven't grown into their bodies either, and there's the possibility they fill out, get much stronger, and add some velocity to their fastball. Tony Butler is a 6'7", 220 pound lefty who's ERA is down over a run from where it was last year, so he's already shown some improvement. Chris Tillman, a 6'5", 190 pound right-hander, is having an outstanding season in Double-A. Baseball America ranked him the 67th best prospect in baseball coming into the year, and he's sure to skyrocket up that list if he continues to pitch like this. Tillman's 6-0 record and 2.68 ERA look much better than his 7-11 record, and 4.84 ERA last year. Kam Mickolio is absolutely huge, at 6'9", 225 pounds, and averaging a strikeout per inning in his young minor league career.
It looks like the Mariners, and the rest of us underestimated the flaws of their offense. Even if Bedard exceeded expectations, the Mariners would still be far out of first place. As it is, he's not doing too well himself, and every player the Orioles received is having a great season or at least showing the potential to have some great seasons down the road. Furthermore, these problems on offense don't look like something that will be fixed with a few moves in the off-season, so Bedard likely won't be able to help a playoff charge next year either. No matter how you look at it, this trade looks like a disaster for the Mariners, and a triumph for the Orioles . This year, it's looking like the "George Sherrill" trade.