Revisiting the Bedard Deal

It must be depressing times for Seattle Mariners fans. Not only is the club mired in a 46-80 season, but there is a bitter aftertaste lingering in most fans’ mouths thanks to last winter’s Erik Bedard trade.

It is rare for a multi-player trade to work out perfectly for a club receiving five “lesser” players in return for one established Major League star, but it’s come pretty close to perfect for Baltimore. Adding insult to injury is the fact that Bedard has hardly been a savior for the Mariners’ rotation and he hasn’t really fit in in Seattle leading to rumors that the club would like to trade him. That said, his numbers look OK on the surface and he has allowed just 70 hits in 81 innings to go along with 31 walks and 72 strikeouts.

Let’s take a look at the players the Mariners gave up:

Who would have thought that a LOOGY would suddenly become so valuable? George Sherrill, who made his MLB debut at the age of 27 and spent parts of four seasons facing nothing but left-handed batters, has saved 31 games for the Orioles this season, solidifying the back end of the bullpen. The Mariners relievers, on the other hand, have managed just 23 saves as a team and rock-solid closer J.J. Putz has pitched, well, like a putz.

Considered the key ingredient in the trade from Baltimore’s perspective, Adam Jones has had an up-and-down season as a 22-year-old (now 23) everyday outfielder. He has a line of .279/.320/.405 with seven homers and eight stolen bases in 398 at-bats. Jones has walked just 19 times to go along with 92 strikeouts. Basically he has been Delmon Young-lite.

Right-hander Chris Tillman, 20, has been the true steal of the trade and has rocketed up prospect lists everywhere to become one of the top five pitching prospects in Double-A and Triple-A combined. In Double-A this season, Tillman has allowed just 106 hits in 124.2 innings, along with 59 walks and 139 strikeouts. As well, he has as many wins – nine – as home runs allowed. Right-handed batters are hitting just .218 against him and he could make his Major League debut next season at the age of 21.

Kam Mickolio was added to the Orioles’ 25-man roster earlier this week. The 24-year-old right-hander stands 6-9 and towers over opponents. His first Major League appearance was a little rough as he allowed three hits and one runs in one inning, but he did strike out two batters. Between Double-A and Triple-A this season, Mickolio allowed 50 hits in 56.1 innings with 29 walks and 60 strikeouts. He allowed just two home runs.

Tony Butler, a 6-7, 20-year-old hurler, has been the quietest player obtained in the fateful deal. He started out the season OK in A-ball by allowing 59 hits and 11 walks in 55 innings. After his June 19 start (He allowed five runs in three innings), though, Butler went on the disabled list with arm problems and has not been seen since.

So there you have it. The Orioles received a solid closer, starting outfielder, middle reliever, top pitching prospect and a young, dark horse prospect for a pitcher that has already worn out his welcome in his new home.

Not bad.




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


15 Responses to “Revisiting the Bedard Deal”

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  1. arbeck says:

    Did you really have to bring this up. I’m going to go shoot myself now.

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  2. Dave Cameron says:

    Seriously, Marc, you suck.

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  3. Rick says:

    And the Reds have hired Bavasi as an assistant GM. I hate us.

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  4. Scraps says:

    You could have rubbed it in a bit more by mentioning Jones’s defense.

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  5. Robbie says:

    Crap. I had blocked out the fact that Tillman was a part of this trade. Until now…

    You suck.

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  6. Tim says:

    I don’t want to come off like your high school English teacher, but if you’re going to say: “It is rare for a multi-player trade to work out perfectly for a club receiving five “lesser” players in return for one established Major League star…” don’t you need to, you know, prove it? Otherwise you’re just throwing out a straw man for easy dismissal.

    I think what you’re trying to say is that it’s a baseball truism that you don’t want to give up the best player in any trade, but that’s not what you say. Come to think of it, it’d be an interesting exercise to go back in time and test that.

    Also, as a M’s fan, tanks for nuttin.

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  7. Drew says:

    This was just plain mean. I need to start drinking before witnessing the A’s lineup come alive against the Mariner’s “starting pitching”.

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  8. Trev says:

    Looking for trades where established star is traded for multiple (preferably 5+ unestablished player)

    Jimmy Foxx & Johnny Marcum for Gordon Rhodes and George Savino?
    –Marcum would give the Red Sox a few years as a solid starter. Both Rhodes and Savino wouldn’t make much of an impact

    March 26, 1992: Milwaukee Brewers trade Gary Sheffield and Geoff Kellogg (minors) to the San Diego Padres for Ricky Bones, Jose Valentin, and Matt Mieske.
    –Sheffield wasn’t exactly an “established” player with only one full season under his belt
    –Jose Valentin would develop into a decent player.

    Both Rickey trades?
    December 5, 1984: Traded by the Oakland Athletics with Bert Bradley and cash to the New York Yankees for Stan Javier, Jay Howell, Jose Rijo, Eric Plunk, and Tim Birtsas.
    June 21, 1989: Traded by the New York Yankees to the Oakland Athletics for Greg Cadaret, Eric Plunk, and Luis Polonia.
    –Rijo became an ace, Javier had a17-year career, Howell was a 3-time All-Star closer..
    –Plunk was a solid setup man, Polonia would have a career as good as Javier’s

    December 4, 1988: Baltimore trades Eddie Murray to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Juan Bell, Brian Holton, and Ken Howell.
    –Holton was a decent reliever at the time, but failed in Baltimore
    –Murray had one season where he won the silver slugger, but his other two seasons as a Dodger were below-average

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  9. Trev says:

    Dear god I just polluted the thread. Anyway, here are the three winners I found:

    July 18, 1993: San Diego trades Fred McGriff to the Atlanta Braves for Melvin Nieves, Donnie Elliott, and Vince Moore (minors).
    –Elliot through 32 innings for the Padres, Moore had only ~300 ABs.

    July 31, 1997: Oakland trades Mark McGwire to the St. Louis Cardinals for Eric Ludwick, T.J. Mathews, and Blake Stein.
    – Mathews did a little back of the bullpen work but that’s it.

    November 11, 1997: Florida trades Moises Alou to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later, Manuel Barrios, and Oscar Henriquez. The Houston Astros sent Mark J. Johnson (December 16, 1997) to the Florida Marlins to complete the trade.

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  10. bob says:

    Dude, maybe you should consult Dave before writing about the Mariners. Sherrill was never a LOOGY and Adam Jones was nearly as valuable as Bedard, according to many projections, as it was. Throw in the other players and this deal was never close. I must hate myself being a Mariners fan. Maybe I can go get some warm-fuzzies by reading Bakers bad “analysis”.

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  11. Dave says:

    I don’t understand how Jones is Delmon Young-lite when he has just as many HRs, a higher SLG and plays CF instead of LF.

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  12. Steven says:

    Well “Jones is Delmon Young-lite” is closer to being true than “Keppinger is the most valuable player in baseball”.

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  13. Grant says:

    Dude, Steven, get over it.

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  14. Steven says:

    It speaks directly to credibility.

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  15. Dudechris88 says:

    Jones has just as much offensive potential as Young – IMO.

    Young is hardly helping out the Twins in LF (he was horrible in Tampa out there. Has he gotten better this year?) , while Jones is one of the better defending CFers in the league and has an arm that scouts rate higher than Ichiro’s.

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