Considering that LHP Erik Bedard made just 30 starts in three, injury-besotted seasons, it came as something of a surprise Thursday when the Mariners opted to award the left-handed starter (or non-starter, as the case may be) a one-year, non-guaranteed contract for 2011. Most expected the Mariners to cut ties with Bedard, especially after they declined an option on Bedard on Nov. 3, a move that allowed Bedard to become a free agent.
Now Bedard willl be given a chance to make the Mariners’ Opening Day roster in 2011, largely under the same conditions as in 2010, when he was paid $1.5 million in a deal that included performance-based incentives.
Bedard never got a chance to perform. With his shoulder ailing, Bedard sat out the entire 2010 campaign. The most action he received was three rehab starts with AAA Tacoma.
The Mariners issued constant updates last season about Bedard’s physical progress, but a shoulder ailment prevented him from ever taking the mound. The Mariners finally declared him out for the 2010 season on Aug. 6, when he underwent surgery to remove a bone spur from his shoulder.
When Bedard has pitched for Seattle, he’s posted respectable numbers: an 11-7 record, a 3.24 ERA. Trouble is, he’s rarely been able to pitch, and has rarely gone past six innings or 100 pitches in the games he’s started.
While it’s surprising that the Mariners would elect to try to dance with Bedard for a fourth time, there is another point to consider. Just prior to the 2008 season, the Mariners sent uber-prospect Adam Jones, a former No. 1 draft pick, and four others to the Baltimore Orioles in order to acquire Bedard.
It quickly became a controversial move, given the hype surrounding Jones, a .284 hitter with 19 home runs in 2010. Now, the Mariners are trying ensure that the aforementioned 2008 trade isn’t relegated to one of the more lamentable deals in club history, largely through no fault of their own.